August Web Feature by Jennifer Battisti
After Whiskey by Jennifer Battisti
After whiskey you tell me
you’d like to be a part of my body
and I wonder if my skin has been a hostel for you all this time.
That maybe you were an element worked out of me,
the sliver of graphite under the flesh of my thigh
after I stabbed myself with a number 2 pencil
in the third grade to stop the arithmetic of separateness.
Maybe I was injecting our future—pierced myself
with the blue-gray cold-shock meeting—analgesic for the hard stuff.
The small splatter of blood staining the plastic chair, so that
later your mouth could venom and surface my epidermis
to kiss all the wounds you’d already known. To soften
the sharpened world into shavings of spiraled aphrodisiac.
To love me minimally toxic, with the near-extinct intimacy
Waiting For Their Arms to Get Tired by Jennifer Battisti
The taxi man looks at your tits
while you bend over the hustle of geometry: rolled bill,
square card, the pocket pouch meant for spare buttons.
This ritual of symmetry is your only loyalty.
Strutting the Blvd, you are a bottle of Goldschlager;
fermented flecks of sex float under the marquee.
When you slur your words, your mother calls in sick for you.
You are not a black sheep, you are a black hole.
Sometimes you’re the girl waiting outside an AutoZone.
Under the sign for antifreeze, you feel eternal.
While waiting for the dope man
your bowels twist like a rabid animal.
For a buck, you can confess your sins
to the bathroom attendant. She pities you in Spanish.
One time you were a girl lost in a strange city,
retracing your steps in a Red Bull can on-wheels.
All of the multitudes of you will sleep with each other’s
boyfriends because addiction is a whore in every dimension.
In the morning, power lines play double-dutch in the wind.
Your heart is an abandoned dance floor.
Twin scabs ripen each Achilles where the stiletto
loves the night like a tourniquet.
Your mouth is packed in ice like rotting meat.
When the asphalt burns your feet, you feel what you can’t
You are a pigeon outside the mini-mart. The man sells
you menthols, sucks his teeth, everyone is a prophet at 6 a.m.
A block from the local detox, there is
a bar named Just One More.
The intake doctor asks you what year it is.
You try to seduce him. You answer every question with your body.