1 poem

by Erika Walsh

Erika is a poet and co-founding editor of A VELVET GIANT, a genreless literary journal. Her work has been featured in Hotel Amerika, Hobart, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. She was awarded a residency to attend Art Farm Nebraska, where she will work on her poetry collection this summer. She works in Manhattan as an editorial assistant and lives in Brooklyn with her pet cat, Willa.

Cave

This guy follows me down the street He follows me into Starbucks He follows me to the bathroom He watches me enter the code

He comes to my little table A brown napkin under the leg I have my headphones in I’m listening to Orange Moon I hear crickets I hear Erykah So I enter a meditative state

This guy says You good You good he says Baby you good This attempt at intimacy confuses me It interrupts my meditative state I’m reminded of this one ex Who saw my tears Kept going said Baby you good

I wash my face in the sink Where someone flushed their eyes with drops There’s that one test at the doctor with the little puff of air It never works I get an X-ray The doctors are patient I blink and blink and blink It should probably be normal for doctors to have patience

So I enter a meditative state where my selves study medicine Press the heels of their wrists into pressure points to stop pain Or no to understand it Or no to make it particle Or no to make it atom into shapes we have not seen

So I enter a meditative state where my wives pin my hair with red ribbons So I enter a meditative state where my husbands lick honey from the palm of my wanting

So I enter a meditative state where I’m at Cave Hill which is where I went to camp Except it wasn’t what you think camp is My family was there Maybe it was autumn I was seven I was eight

This older boy I had a crush on made me eat a blue crayon Or he made me eat a green crayon He thought it would be funny He was thirteen he was fourteen I had just learned to ride my bike I learned a little late I kept falling down the hill My knees turned the color of the crayons he made me eat

I liked to be alone and go to my little cave I liked to pretend my knees were scarred into maps There was one cave It was so small I sat there for a while

I never really wanted him or anyone to follow