The Dream in Which You Are

by Kendra DeColo

Inside of me—

half-human, half collected

fragments of morning walks

along the wintered cathedrals

and brown stones

of Mass Ave.—

you’ve seen my body

so many times

you can recall perfectly

the deep cracks of my

white-bottomed feet,

the air odored as I taste:

gin and earnings of week-

long sweat. My skin,

stiff in your mouth,

inside of you as much

as you are inside of me

working against anonymous

parts, newsprint crackling

within the flint of my slacks

as you raise my legs

to go deeper, and notice

my face blurred

below the neon orange

wool of my cap,

a numb light streaking

over us inside the ATM

where we wrestle

each other as demons

tethered by a thin leash

pulled from the hot

vent toward heaven

and you can’t tell

whether I am human

or not, what sex

inside the heap

of bulged and sealed

plastic, the blunt truth

of my tongue the only

feature articulated

from the knot of my face,

reaching towards you,

the bright worm

of my heart, my stench

wadded and wet, all of me

one held breath,

waiting to pass a needle

through this difficult sleep.

When you wake, part of me

will still be there

tossing in your pores,

filaments mixed

as saliva and blood

into the syllables

of your name,

faceless and shadow-

skinned, my genitals

x-ed out, signed

over the length

of your long

and beautiful life.

Kendra DeColoKendra DeColo is the founding poetry editor of Nashville Review and a book editor at Muzzle Magazine. Her poems have appeared in CALYX, Muzzle Magazine, Southern India Review, Vinyl Poetry, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of scholarships and residency awards from Vermont Studio for the Arts, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Millay Colony, and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She has taught poetry workshops in prisons, middle schools, homeless shelters, and hospitals. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.