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Lauren Burgess

By September 18th, 2020No Comments



When I am afraid I tailor a father with every lump in the black. Piles of needles go body: dog rabbit daddy strewn, sewed. I’m terrified of the road. A garbage bag could end. Headlights like morning burst around the corners of windings—I’m gone before I hit the bridge. I think go get buckets of milk and ask for dimes and rattles, that bayou comes in windows. They say get that wrench from her, pull her out the water, pull the raceme out of her mouth, get the charcoal in, all the weeds go too, the spike at the end.




Sometimes I go to each corner of my cage and have a look. Sometimes I let quiet and hold my hands against my chest—there, there. Right around this corner, it is about me if I let it. The head is alterity and I fall inside myself with so many legs. But this is a real kitchen. How’d I get in here? Where do I really come from? Silly there’s no reason to be a thing that hates soft plums… to be afraid of the fingernails in your sink… Hear a minute, two off, some light falls away, the bells go free. No reason to say soon goodbye, say, come back—don’t I want some milk? Or put this quiet finger on my lip—





There is a way of going about it without stares. I take myself to the mirror and we call this grooming. The pick goes into my mouth and when I spit it is gelled, it is red mixtures. I take myself to the road and we call this no, don’t, we call another spit take. I handle myself with small brushes and become a favorite. The parts we don’t like we smooth right. The parts we don’t like we blot into the rest. What angle does this go for? This angle is vibrancy, the way I come looking. I take myself to the edge of the table and we call this dinner. Pass everything to the right, the seconds add up.





The movement is that I can’t get enough. If you ask me where do we go from here I will tell you one of me does not. This is built like a human but keeping going I animal further, two beasts one body. Hunching and splitting cans of food.  Bribing myself with helpings of sleep and new places to do it, trying out surfaces like vials popping, ways of being without hallways, without throughs. This is no hallway. This is no room. There are not bars but there are bars, hundreds of them, stretching down from the speckled ceiling, slim and armied, nails. They go right through my legs and make a food of me, a carving. There are not bars. There is only me, carving into myself, carving.





I sneak a piece of roast beef from the fridge like a scolded mouse. I bite my little finger. I write poems with my little finger about the microwave clock is one minute faster than the coffee pot clock, but I fix it all the time. (The oven acts up, too! Can you imagine how they all face the same way!) I am belly belly full, my tongue is growing all the time. I let it poke out my mouth like a fat pink slug. I’m in a bad way, but I keep on pretending meal after meal that I taste something funny and throw white plates against the walls. I love when I think someone is here. Here, here! Poke your head out little friend. Come meet my slug.






Lauren Burgess is a queer writer from New Orleans. She is an MFA student and instructor at Louisiana State University, where she serves as assistant poetry editor of New Delta Review. Her work has appeared in Ellipsis and A Velvet Giant, and she is a grateful recipient of the Ryan Chighizola Memorial Award for poetry.