Etymology of Trespass
His name means man,
the first man
to join Christ. A lifetime
later, the man
I have now,
calls my name
in a street
in Venice. My sacred
my neck turns
to find him. But
let us return to Man #1.
How he joined me,
my body wooden
beneath him, while I
kept my eyes
locked to the waterstain
on the ceiling.
Manly man, whose body
was unhinged as a demon,
thank god he arrived
after the first,
that my death
could be less painful
with no hymen to split.
I left in the morning
with no stigmata
on my hands or wrists,
in my body. I had
to turn back
for my shoes.
For my realization
my bare feet
would not grant me
I ran on.
Offer of the Self in the Shape of a Myth after the Rapes
Stick your finger in this gash: some part of me
Ariean, ruled by Mars then, and with that,
through torpor, came a fruit swollen and low on the branch
of the tree I thought was dead. Thought
that all perished in the flood of my unraveling,
the threads sliver off from the tether I have
to myself. Then this, a stonefruit, so ripe
the cleft throbs beneath the thin peel,
the meek coat on a red flash of nature. This peak
of the fruit's short life: that's anger. That's
bloodline like a lure hooked back into myself.
That's mirror: I see what enters me and turns me
to fire. The wire between me and what I know to be true
slips back through. I know you, me,
from the dream where we emerge from the water
as it fills the house of those who refuse to look
at the cold creeping up their legs. How the loins
at first ignore external threats, their only defense.
And ever since I anchored myself to the ground
and split off from myself, from the cracked husk
of girlhood finished, I return replenished.
I return, to burn. I return, with the wound
like a medal—in its gleam, how it sings.
Let in salt, let in the world, into the woman
let the god of fire whorled, god of war,
god only beauty could join, as she stepped
from foam onto the gravel shore.
Kristi Carter's poems have appeared in publications including So to Speak, poemmemoirstory, CALYX, Hawaii Review, and Nimrod. Her book Cosmovore is available from Aqueduct Press. She is also the author of chapbooks forthcoming from Porkbelly Press and Dancing Girl Press. Her work examines of the intersection of gender and intergenerational trauma in 20th Century poetics. She holds a PhD from University of Nebraska Lincoln and an MFA from Oklahoma State University.