I Am Twenty-One

Erin Adair-Hodges

and my roommate is a man
so beautiful he is not expected
to say anything true. We sleep

separated by the suggestion
of a door. He is so close
I hear his hard-ons and he my

scabbing. I walk through his room
to get to the loo during the deep pocket
of night through which he cocoons

in a plaid of streetlights
strained through bars. I think everything
is practice and so I let myself love him

a little, both what is there and what I just
make up, and I get so good at it I forget
that I am loving a ghost. Sing to me, ghost,

I say. We’ve forgotten to pay
for everything—our lives candles
on cardboard boxes, hot wax bleeding

through the slits. There’s lipstick
on the wine bottle, jizz and toast
in the sink. Nights I hear him pounding

blondes through the hung-up sheet,
I leave for the streets and look for a bruise
to walk into. I come back when the cats

have begun their morning hate
under the house and up in the walls,
bodies full of fever and singing.


Read two more poems by Erin Adair-Hodges by downloading our iOS digital app available in the iTunes store. For Android users, click here to access our mobile-friendly site. Or, purchase a print copy of the Jan/Feb 2017 issue here.

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