No, I donít mean not to begin.
You say Dubai & Iím stuck to
                                   some city in Ohio, one where the river
                        lights its own fuse. I might smolder
                                                            feet dangling in the pool. Muddle the slip
                                               of peel & Iíll drape over the couchís arm
                                                                      like Lauren Bacall, smoky & heavy-eyed.
                                                            No birds or trees, just glass /
                                                                                                         body thrown
                                               open like a door. Yarn over. Iím torn from sense
                                   but saying so wonít move mountains. Drag
                        me through Morocco or Bahrain or chocolate stuck to my teeth
          when you say you were working /
                                                                      youíre green bottle
                                               on the back step. Pulse. Again. The room unsews,
                                                            fizzing apart in sparks. The room blurs in blues
                                   & hurry. Thereís a dream /
                                                                                    where the morningís switched
                                                            for decaf. Yarn under. Eyelid open.
                                   Winterís hem, fraying. Let it get clearer
                                               in the looking /
                                                                                    heat quaking to life in the pipes.
                                                            Iím a small town in the arms of orange trees.
                                               Chin dips down. Kiss comes where want demands it.
                                   Our mistake becomes a bedroom. Not a moth
                                                            or any burning /
                                                                                              a drawer missing
                                                                      from the motel dresser. Plastic cup ashtray.
          No, I canít tell what youíd look like in sun. Skin. We take off our shirts.
                        If we shake out my purse it might be like Michigan /
                                                                                                                        did I mention
                                                            Iíll steal back my hips. Tuck breath into neck
                                                                      knees yawning. No, I donít expect
                                   fraying at the cuffs or a full mouth /
                                                                                              red confetti, rosť magnum
                                                                      borrowed intact. Donít drink. Rob
                                               the season of sweaters. Windows open in spite of frost.
                                                            Wanted mess for us beyond the thaw.


Emily O'Neill is a writer, artist, and proud Jersey girl. Her recent poems and stories can be found in Gigantic Sequins, Muzzle Magazine, and Vector, among others. Her debut collection, Pelican, is the inaugural winner of Yes Yes Books' Pamet River Prize. She edits poetry for Wyvern Lit. You can pick her brain @tabernacleteeth or