Belle Haven, CT 1975

By Erin Carlyle

I picked out her moon pale face,

walked her home. I wanted to kiss her out 

of thin air, loved her jeans with rips 

at the knees: soft skin peeked. 

What remained of her in my pocket 

for later—a phone number on a piece 

of homework. She never called back, 

but now when I sleep she says: I remember 

you were the last thing, and I can’t even break

the shell of a king crab without hearing 

her fingernail crack on concrete,

the white meat inside—her clenched teeth. 

I hear her say: I’m here, I’m here, I’m here.

My father will make her go away.  

Erin Carlyle’s work has been featured in literary magazines such as Up the Staircase Quarterly and Driftwood Press, and forthcoming in Prairie Schooner. Her chapbook, You Spit Hills and My Body, is published with Dancing Girl Press. She holds a MA in Literary and Textual Studies from Bowling Green State University and a graduate certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies from Western Kentucky University. Currently she is the Assistant Poetry Editor of Mid-American Review and holds a MFA from Bowling Green State University.