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2 poems

by Spencer Williams

Spencer Williams is currently an MFA candidate at Rutgers University-Newark. She is the author of Alien Pink (The Atlas Review Chapbook Series, 2017) and has work featured in or forthcoming from [PANK], Powder Keg, Bat City Review, and Always Crashing. She tweets mostly nonsense @burritotheif

I Call the Rape a Rape


and first, there is the nothing sound

a mouth makes around a finger,

the wet string a finger makes upon

leaving the mouth. There is the slur

that names this hole faggot, the shape

a tongue takes to the dirt. Prayer knees,

scraping. Then, the music of bruise. Of hard

red lines. The memory like a wrist guided

back towards the seam. The fresh pluck

of skin. Of kill. I call the rape a rape

and the funeral drips

                                       out of me:  I call the rape

                                                                 a rape

                                                                      and break

                                                           again over

                                                      the cliff

                                                          of his knee.              I say his name

                                                                                                and taste dry

                                                                                        wood. Touch

                                                                                                        myself, cum


                                                                                                on my back.

                                                                  Say it back to me now,

                                                         how in the clearing

                                                                        there was me,

                                                                          and him                 and a branch

                                                                                                    that gored

                                                                                                            my throat.


                                                                                         still, the word

                                                                                                          love inside

                                                                                                                      my faggot 



On Walking the Trail with Alex After the Service


Among the waste of trees perched near the water tower, songbirds choke on strands of brown hair, mistaking them for worms. As we climb towards the hull, we smell them in the branches, wet, riddled with lice. I turn to you and ask about your life, dodging the ex you wear like a harness. You looked so happy in the photos. And then he was not in them. Even when the end arrived, I couldn’t picture it you say, as if I know. This is where I am now: watching you cup your hands around a pair of soiled wings we found together, on the edge of the footpath. You comb the shapes as though, with just two fingers, you could right the splintered bones. But one splint gores the skin and bleeds it. I say here, suck your new hole clean. I do not mean to. I want to tell you about me so badly. About my trip to the ER and how insignificant it felt to go home. The sun was out at the wake, you say, remember that smell? Yes. Of dark fabrics turning wet because each limb was crying. In the fog of you, my fingers curl around aura. The sun did not come here with us today. From where we stand, your town is a series of miniature blocks. I heard you rarely leave the house these days. It’s like he’s hiding, a mutual friend remarked. But it is not hiding if we loom over everyone. I don't know how to tell you this. I don't know how to tell you anything but sorry.

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