I’ve begun to sunbathe along the highway,
undressed only for men who play loose & rough,
who seek paradise in the fields— ball of light turned gag.
& there, the mythical older man in place of woman.
He is less ghost than door, spirit strung up, not yet dead.
Do not cover your lips when he reaches for them—
his line will always be the same— such an old soul.
Still, there is nothing I here but my body, & he pulls
that fast from my mouth. I think of crowns, of hope,
while he— if only you were alive in the 70s—
This I’ve learned to call beauty— my method of payment,
my method of publicly begging for what I can’t ask in private.
He unclothed & I, serpentine— his touch such boring gratification—
a man who betrays another for me & I who betray myself for him.
He asks if I love him. I say no,
but tell him how this longing was with me even in the womb,
how my hands are a weapon of my mind & my mind, a rusted seascape.
Two thrusts or three, a whisper, & he christens me baby,
but I’ve grown elderly with lack of desire. This— the emptiness
of sexuality— to see man, think woman, feel nothing,
but do not misunderstand: this is anything but violence—
not all things are done in order to free myself.
Karissa Morton Carter is originally from Iowa & currently lives in Texas. Her work can be found in Cream City Review, Crab Orchard Review, Indiana Review, Guernica, & The Paris-American, among other places.