The Peephole at My Chin

poetry by Bronte Billings

The Peephole at my Chin

I asked a man for broken glass.
He pulled my fist
 into the couch. He gave me a coin,
lint, and half-eaten cloves. There was no
clean body between us. I reeked of 3 day
old socks.

I asked a man for an empty stomach.
He flipped me under him to
 stretch me out. I tasted morning
pancakes, mold, blueberry grease.
All knives are broken. Somewhere distant
the potted aloe leaks. I bury my face in sticky
messes. I am soft.

I asked a man for kneecaps.
He held the door to an open box.
           What I wanted was more parts
for the heater. More wet paint chips of drenched
boiling water. When he goes, I talk
to the radiator. I say hello to its high breathy

I asked a man for the corner mattress.
I don’t need sleep or
    the hair at my collar bone. I open my
arms to windows and winter
rain.  I’m cold with wanting. I knock.
and I knock and I knock and I knock
 with my purple knuckles I knock
against the soft curve of
his mouth. I knock. I’m raw knocking.
I keep knocking. Knock.
I won’t go away.

Song for Syzygy

I have grown a room of sand

stone and coral. The wetlands

are full of things that breathe

but never live. It rains and

I fill my bras with freezing

water. Nothing grows

anymore, but I am feminine

with hips that hoist

cotton skirts. I’ve lived

in piles of paper, scrapped

collage faces I used

to wear. The water

in my body sloshes. Weight

of my weight changing

with gravity. When I am dry,

my room is empty.

Bronte Billings lives in Northeast Ohio with her no so balding black cat beauty. She earned her MFA in poetry through the NEOMFA. Bronte is the recipient of the 2015 & 2016 Academy of American Poets Prize and the 2017 Leonard Trawick Award. Her work can be found in Jenny Magazine, Bone Bouquet, and is forthcoming in Pinwheel and Barnhouse. Stay tuned for more of her work in our Hallow’s Eve issue!