Kathryn de Lancellotti is currently completing her MFA in Poetry
at Sierra Nevada College. She has a degree in Literature from
University of California Santa Cruz and is a former recipient of
the Cowell Press Poetry Prize and the George Hitchcock
Memorial Poetry Prize. Her poems and other works have appeared
in Chicago Quarterly Press Review, Catamaran Literary Reader,
The American Journal of Poetry, The Bind, Porter Gulch Review,
Cultural Weekly and others. Kathryn resides in Cayucos, California
(USA) with her son, Jade.

The Boot
after Silvia Plath's "Daddy" and Sharon Olds' "Sex Without Love"

Every woman adores a Fascist,/ the boot in the face/ the brute/ brute heart of a brute like you. —Sylvia Plath

I fucked Professor on my period. Pulled his ears
while he plucked the string out with his teeth.
Told me he wasn't afraid to taste a little blood.

I fucked Father on the church pew.
Hymns torn, almost to nothing—how sweet
the sound. How sweet the blood of the lamb.

How do they do it? Sharon asks,
the ones who make love without love?

I tell her I've done it. Done it on dorm room
carpet. Done daddy next to Jesus, so many daddies
and false Messiahs. I'm not saying it was beautiful

as ice skaters whirling ice, or bones bowed
inside each other. Think crown of thorns.
Think rust and screw. Think I'm ugly

for punishment, that sometimes a daughter
sticks her head in the oven. Sometimes she comes
to the rock for the slaughter, comes face red as wine, red

as meat, red as a child begging daddy,
daddy don't leave.

The Astronaut and the Suit
after Anna Swir's "I Talk To My Body"

My body, you are an animal,
a bloody animal.
Before I left my mother we made an agreement.
You promised to hold me.
I promised to feed you.
My body, you are the door
my son entered and left.
You grew him with the discipline of a Rishi
and the efficiency of a watch.
I'm starving but I can't eat.
I burn toast to swallow black.
Chew and chew and chew.
You have been good me.
I am not always good to you—my body,
I am not.

Homage to my Period

Each month, lovers bleed
from me. It hurts, every time,
reminds me that love is this: more release
than hold, more flush and death.
Witness unfertilized eggs, droplets of blood
in a bowl of milk. Witness the tissue
of your unborn spill out. A cycle, always back
to this: in prayer nine times a day. This ache
in the belly each time my son asks
about his dad. Each blood clot I pass,
fills the cup full, the cup empty.
It's how the story always goes
—love, bleed, weep.

Clay and Pyre
after David Settino Scott's "Seated Model V" oil on panel

Sometimes, she is clay formed into his image,
or flesh toned oil on canvas, a photograph,
a brush stroke. Sometimes, she is model V,
subject, or childless, perhaps
a child herself, hunched over on the couch,
hips holding the weight of frailty.
Here, in this frame, she does not own her body,
she is the kindling burnt off in the pyre.
When she drops her robe
in the middle of the classroom,
or on the floor of the studio, or to the corner
of a bed, she gives herself to the mystery, to the art,
and he takes her, and makes her his own,
each vertebrae, each bone and shade, a mirror
he has chased—a frightened spine
like an arrow through the heart.

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