I lie on my back at sixteen, a flipped insect
on coarse gold shag
beneath the window cracked open
to wet cold,
my knees tented,
toes crammed inside the rusted baseboard heater
like mice searching for warmth.  
Above me, on the shelf
the turntable whirls, unstoppable,
cream stirring in coffee.
Under the needle the record’s grooves
spill secrets into gray air.
Robert Plant’s plaintive voice runs over,
In my time of dying, want nobody to mourn
dribbles onto my face,
All I want for you to do
sinks into my washed-out skin
is take my body home
the way rain sinks into earth.
I think of death,
lick at it like a syrupy spoon,
relish the sweet on my tongue,
imagine it running down the sides of my mouth
like silky black oil,
down my neck, chest,
striping the pale inner skin of my arms,
pooling on the carpet beneath me,
matting the fibers together
until they turn rusty
like the body’s gravy,
spilled over.

Laurie Junkins holds an MFA in poetry from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (Whidbey Writer’s Workshop.) She has most recently been published in Poet Lore, Alehouse, Rattle, and Literary Mama, among others.  She has work forthcoming in Tipton Poetry Journal and Spillway, as well as Nimrod International Journal as a semi-finalist in the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and she is Managing Poetry Editor of Los Angeles Review. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children.

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