Caroline Shea

Crushed Peaches


The first time, you peel the dress from me
with practiced hands,
trace the ghost of an incision
from the nape of my neck
to where it pools in a hollow above my butt.
You do not look away.


The night you’re admitted,
I sleep in a chair,
buckled in the blunt posture of crisis.

Trace sigils on the backs of your hands,
kiss the creases of your elbows, sticky like crushed peaches.

I call my therapist from a public bathroom,
ask her what I’ve done wrong.
This is not about you, she says.

Later, I curl at your feet like a dog, dopey and adoring.
Cannula and cord tangle around us.
Your cannibal lungs gurgle and you spit blood.
I do not look away.

Caroline Shea is a poet and editor living in Burlington, Vermont. When not actively avoiding hypothermia, she serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Vantage Point magazine and dreams of one day living in a pet-friendly apartment. 

JD Thornton