Photograph by: Abi Koh
Your speech is scalding
In the way of my dorm-
(Which only has two
Slush and hot like mom-
I can’t escape the blinding,
White-hot, glaring pain of
Your words which seem to
Melt my lips together so that
I am no more than a
Wax figure left out on a mid-
I find your specificity severe
And your syntax condemning
And I am the boarded up
Boo-Radley-residence on the
You stab the For Sale
Sign into the lawn
And spit “goodbye”
Like the foul-mouthed sailor you are.
I feel my pulse in my teeth
You are the shake in my knees—
I guess it is love.
You pinch my skin in the crease
Of your elbows and knees
Grab my old set of keys—
I guess it is love.
Pick apart my intentions
Won’t fork over attention
Serve me my eviction—
Notice, this is love.
I don’t want to mark any more stressed
And unstressed beats on my anthology pages
I am only stressed with every beat of
My wearied heart and it sounds like screaming
To me. I don’t want to read any more about narcissism
And mirrors or write ten pages for Monday’s
Due date in red ink. I would rather hand you a mirror
And tell you to examine how you used me
To prop up your ego. You heard it here first, folks:
I’m writing my senior thesis on my
Self: and the research is painful.
I keep reading you on the pages so no
Wonder my neck aches and my stomach turns
And my heart is sick. The textbooks don’t lie:
I turned myself into a reflective surface
So I could be bought and sold at a price.
"Tell me how the prosody influences
Your understanding of the poem”
My professor said but I wanted to look at her
And tell her I only knew to write about
How this poem only made sense to me
Through the callouses on your fingers
Where you learned to play guitar
And the spot on your chin where your
Razor was remiss and the faintest of
Bruises beneath your blue, blue eyes
And the too-long hair that brushes your
Eyelashes. I cannot understand the poem in
Terms of iambic tetrameter and acephalous lines:
Only in how my heart skips a beat at that stressed syllable
And I know that you are looking at me across
The pen-and-pencil-tattooed library desk.
Becca Lafferty is a graduate of Samford University and is currently pursuing her dream of being a high school English teacher at her alma mater, International Community School in Singapore. Becca's global life has had a strong influence on her writing. Julie Steward, her favorite professor at Samford, has also helped to shape Becca's writing into what it has become. Some of her favorite poets are Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Emily Dickinson, and Langston Hughes. Her desire is to get her students to love reading and writing and literature on a passionate level and to pour her life out for the sake of the Gospel. Find Becca's poetry at riotousrambling.tumblr.com. Find Becca's photos on Instagram at beccalaff91. Find Becca's big-girl updates at beccalafferty.wordpress.com. Find Becca's ridiculousness on Twitter at @beccalaff91.