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Jessica Reed

Two Poems

Briophobia


I used to have a fear of feet.  The feet
my mother bade me rub were fungus-nailed
with yellow crust she painted cherry red.
My father’s toes were lean and mushroom-shaped.

They stretched against the leather of his boots
and pushed beyond the edges of his flip-flops.
Both my brothers’ feet became my father’s,
with second toes like horns sprung from the first.

Then Sarah said my narrow feet were perfect
and asked if she could trace the veins with marker.


Ex Factoring

At Denny’s on our first date, I asked Jessica
to the prom.  When I panicked, she went with a boy
called Amos.  The next week in school her neck was covered
with bitemarks.  Don’t worry, she whispered,
they’re not from you.

The first time with Star was the first time
and unexpected.  I waded thigh-deep
through the snow.  I was wearing baggy underwear.
I didn’t shudder once.  When she cheated with her ex-,
it was just masturbation and besides
they were saying my name the whole time.

On the phone over the summer, Sarah told me
I was the woman she was looking for.  In my bed,
she undiscovered.  On our way to the airport, she said,
I don’t think I’m bisexual after all.

I didn’t love Karyn, but she filled
my room with daffodils and
always made me come.

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