Two Poems

Jessica Linnett

I’ve Given Her a Name

My loneliness and I sit
On a bench in a park 
I’ve been to before.

I sip a coffee, and she reads
A love story. The coffee burns
My tongue and dribbles down

My chin and I turn to laugh
With her, but she’s looking
Down. Tears spill

Into pages that taunt us. 
I pick up her hand to wipe
My chin and she blows her nose 
in my sleeve.

My loneliness and I dance
Sometimes, when the light
Is low and slow music plays.

She spins on her toes, and I grab
For her hands. She turns away
And back and holds my gaze

Until her eyelids are heavy
And sad, and I let her lie down
On my chest for a while. 

Most nights, though, I can’t
Touch her. She sits on the edge
Of the bed and hums.

My Rapist Likes Glass Animals

In his living room, he’ll still put on his favorite 
album, sing to his dog with a hairbrush 
for a microphone

while I pretend to live in a fishtank
with gills between my ribs and I
never hear music—I’ve forgotten 
how to dance.

My mama always told me she could see ghosts.
I am jealous because all I see is flesh. 

On bad days, I think
he was in love 
with me. 

He called it kevorka,
What I had.
The lure of the 
Animal, he said.
I thought it was funny
That a rapist stole
His jokes from Seinfeld.
When I sleep
With the bartender, 
He likes
Seinfeld too.

Family members
Of friends, and of
Strangers, and strangers
All leave with the skin
Of my chapped lips,
And I smell like spit for three days.

I’m never watching Seinfeld.