By Alison Stone

If you ask me again, I will tell you.

If you ask me with your sweet face

like a river, the words

will fly from my mouth.


Can you tolerate my fear of

the number six, of hospitals

and white horses, of babies

crawling endlessly across


my books? My fear that

I’ll become a woman in an apron stirring

nails into soup? Deep inside me

is a cocktail waitress


and a married man with thick

fingers waiting to stroke her breast.

Remind me

the worm in my heart is a dream,


as in my dream the first woman I loved

tells my brother I look terrible and should

stay in the house. Remind me

in my waking life she bent


down in a park in Canada, handed me

a blade of grass, whispered

I wish you everything.

We are walking on yesterday’s news:


Beyond Baseball Cards—Stores Sell

Human Bones as Collectibles. Three

skulls grin crookedly

beneath the headline. My longings


loop like ticker tape. Why tangle

yourself in my missteps and betrayals?

I can’t even defend the edges

of my body. The man pressing


my thigh in the subway causes me

to shrink like a frog’s muscle

hooked to wires in a lab. You tell me

you understand, that years ago in a barn


you unzipped yourself

into unbearable shame.

Every life has blood on its shirt.

Perhaps love is


finding a person to fill a hole

dug by somebody else.

Ask me again.


Alison Stone is the author of Dangerous Enough (forthcoming from Presa Press 2014), Borrowed Logic (forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press 2014), From the Fool to the World (Parallel Press 2012) and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award and was published by Many Mountains Moving Press. A licensed psychotherapist, she has private practices in NYC and Nyack. She is also a visual artist and the creator of the Stone Tarot.

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