What do you write about?
I dug my hole before I met you.
Your mother’s silver bracelets snap the silence.
She rages with affection surrounded by dogs.
I am her Burque street bitch, tarnished –
my smile whispers the start of a poem. If I could cry –
Your father’s workbench is turquoise, silver,
dirt, tape cassettes, women pinned to the walls.
When you were a boy, he showed you how to put a condom on a broom
as the naked photographs watched.
Here, my eyes are hungry for these women,
cheeks, breasts, ribs, stomach, a carrot
dangling between one girl’s thighs and
You, my love, unearth my small hand, hidden
in my thighs.
You tug at my gnarled leash.
You lead my small hand to your mother,
your father watches the gentle gift of my body.
The dogs shred the grass as they pass through the open doorway,
Things I write poems about – rhythms and body ticks and sex
and family, how I rev like an engine.
As if I could be your pet, my love –
the memory wire will not release tension
You and your family watch my hand twist around a purple stone.
I crave its noisy birth and the hushed
fondling, pretending to be made of secrets
even as I am being excavated.
In the yard, my bitch craves the familiarity of violence
and she bites, blackening the air.
To have a big yard contained without a fence.
Madison Bertenshaw is a poet and writer living in Austin, Texas. She received her MFA from the Poets and Writers Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her work has appeared in Route 9 and Persona, and she is currently researching and writing about congenital limb differences and mental health.