ever have someone tell you to stand up straight? look you in the eye when they're talking?

From “The Apiary”

A drawer full of screws and loose paperclips. As opposed to filled with. 92% of us are carrying around plastic estrogen. What are you, and whether that makes you spoken for. That I would waste actual physical paper in the process. The state tells me they need to understand integer operations. Whether you meant to or not, sitting on his lap was the perfect antidote.


How long before you can no longer stand your own company. Didn’t not, double negative, it’s the same as adding a positive. Hold your arms up and show me how it works, two minus arms that cross into a plus. There are doubts during a dry spell. There was a backup plan that went south, that went pregnant, that became suddenly entirely unappealing. It is an actual biological fact tethered in the body.


For two years afterward, every neon windbreaker coming up the hill was you, I could pull over and offer to take you home, you could prefer the exercise before dinner, could think yourself back into existence. We could have a standing date where the bartender always likes me better. I have seen some since on the wall above the stairwell, just clinging. Out of context it is one body sleeping.


Where is their hive and why did you settle for mechanized translation back and forth as intentional language. There is something to two bodies in a room, working in parallel. We were no less careful than I have been with anyone else (and I have been with…) The desire to be born works its way back and spills over the rim of the condom. If through carelessness I could remake you.

Teresa K. Miller is a poet and teacher in Oakland, with work forthcoming in kadar koli and E*ratio. Her chapbook, Forever No Lo, is available from Tarpaulin Sky Press.

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