SHELBY VANE


Shelby Vane previously had poems published in Scarab, Salisbury University's literary
journal where she is currently enrolled, and Preface, Goucher College's literary journal.
She was an accepted applicant into the Tin House Writers' Workshop, and a finalist for
the Adroit Literary Journal editorial intern staff.






On Bitching

like my mother, because she knows
what she wants—
not that one, but that one—
is easy for me, the one she hatched

in twelve hours, body rising in the pain
like yeast, aligning itself with what can't be
aligned. She became the mediation
between the pain and the practice,

take me, not her,
in the full, bitter winter of the year I began
to bleed—monthly, this extra thing
I can't use, with too much already

I can't have. What a waste. It is the way
it happens, cut from the ribs of Adam
only to stand and walk away from him,
a man who tried to make the best of it,

all this estrogen.






The Frequency of Mating Calls

I've had it up to here with your got no time
for the ordinary. Just because you drive drunk

and I drive with a two-ten grip, doesn't mean
we have to head for the bypass EXIT with our

blinkers on, chopping hundreds of onions,
crying, wiping and re-wiping the corners.

Because you remind me that even moths
fuck against wood-paneled siding and birds

bury their faces in the feathers of each other's bodies.
You remind me that the space between our world

and theirs is somewhere between your wool
cardigan and my dirty fingernails. I can't bear

to let you go and only remember your face
when I see stray cats humping in the street,

when the frost stalls my car at 6 a.m. and no
one's there to cup my hands and pat my bottom.






Carne Sobre Carne

You remind me of someone
I used to know, the toe to tip of you,
your edges and your peaks,
your shakes and shooks, the look
on your face when I caught
you staring at me
from across the room. How
delicious. I can see you

now with my eyes
shut, cheap drink in your hand
made cheaper because the bartender
wants to fuck you. I know
you, dear boy. Maybe
from another life, you and I
once were. And then, we were again—
reaching for the other between
bar stools, the space where time
meets distance, the bit of sully
for the sweet. Don't tell me
I'm wrong, because a body
knows. It knows the carne sobre
carne
, the beat of beats, the parts
that don't want to be apart
from you.






We Were Something Else, Weren't We

In the blue television screen light, you promised me
peppered moths and hand-woven oven mitts—

for when you're 30, you said, feeding me the cheese
and crackers. We went through the seasons like this,

saying winter when we meant gasping—for air
that we kept, only for taking off our socks

and riding the bus with our bangs in our eyes;
for forgetting to put the flowers in the water

and kissing with more tongue than we're used
to; for remembering we're the aftermath

of what went wrong and the beginning of what
went right; for the dirty bathtub and the black

bra; and, for you—pinned against the wall,
feeling when I want you and when I don't.



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