Featured Excerpt: Six from Ghosty Boo

by Kate Litterer
 
 

Ghosty Boo is angry and throbbing threats.
I waver and flicker vision.

Little me is waiting
in the next room for me to
acknowledge her
existence. She has
red poker hair and little
arms and legs and girl
girl voice. Little girl me opens
her mouth and it keeps
going deep and black
and vicious and empty.
Little neglected me
is frozen. She blinks out
then in, horrorific babygirl.
Little me is crying, adult me
watched my own neglect like
a magic zipper closed it.
I drunk to grow up little me
to a sexpot. Little me was a dinky
plastic flower. I close my tight
mouth and I ignore little me.
She is imagined broke fledgling. Me me here,
a panic. Me is closing my mouth
and it keeps going. It is deep
and pink and pulsing like a vagina.

*

CUT to me furious
stilting on hard calves in need of massage
my hair is dirty, it smells like old clothes + taffy
oh my it is sexy when a queer woman bites her nails
down to the bloodcomingout.

It’s a hard job to hurt out of revolted love.

*

Open places of safety:
back yards,
farms, lakes and
ponds, nourishing meals.

Scary, closed:
darkness/nighttime,
showers, mirrors.

Terror rooms:
night terrors about the room
with the thin carpet on
concrete where there are meat
hooks hanging from the ceiling,
sudden fear of being
touched so much that
I revert to preverbal, recurring
dream where
the back yard is covered
with dead dogs.

*

Last night in a red dress, I observed that
if women are fawns, timid in their drinks, martini,
then the man who raped me years ago,
large and barking, is a black wolf,
is a shot of whisky.
He got so close: his breath stank
like a casualty. I turned into an ocean
and sent out tide after tide until
my red flesh dress was a deer’s hide
soaked in sea water until the skin
hardened and cracked.

First we were clothed, then under our clothes
naked and painted wide-eyed nude, he
hiding a bottle of liquor and
myself. I camouflaged in black,
my encouragement or fear,
our looping, the sound of trains
translated into barking until I tinkled
like a music box.

If I closed my eyes, I heard trains.
My mother and I watched graffiti roll past
while we smoked, backs on the red brick station.
Red Brick Station is the anywhere in this equation;
we smoked and I quit counting after one hundred.
The man who raped me. One hundred. Mother,
cut off my hair and erase me in parts to leave room.

*

Once, we posed our Barbie dolls like a Playboy shoot.

              We stole eggs from the refrigerator
              We stole eggs from the refrigerar
              instead of the chicken coop—maybe
              we wanted to test if our parents will
              notice. They don’t.

Once, my sister threw
my cat into the creek. Once, I threw
a rock in the air knowing it might
fall on her and it did, but I didn’t mean it,
I was just curious. The only time
my father spanked me was when I
raced my sister to the front seat of the car,
slammed the door on her fingers, and kept
pulling while she screamed.
I wasn’t aware that she was hurting,
was I?

              But isn’t pain regular
              and to be expected? Shouldn’t my
              apology be implied and accepted
              without me having to ask for it?

When you’re young and neglected, grotesque
is normal. The floor is lava, you have
a Nintendo, you eat mashed
potatoes, so everything is normal.

*

Bees have always been there
for me. Horses have always
been strong and hard
and I have always hunted for
a Daddy to praise me
at every step. Butch Daddies
are patrol teddy bears.
I am a jagger bush. A snapping
turtle beak and love is
a branch I want to eat it,
to teach it a lesson about
Do Not Touch Me.
If a Butch Daddy leased
my neck I could go lax and burble.
I would traipse pony-style.
I would be proud to be
daughtered.
I would maybe
be safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“CUT to me furious” was originally published in H_NGM_N Issue 16

Ghosty Boo will be published by A-Minor Press in October 2015.

 

Kate Litterer received her MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Program for Poets and Writers. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Coconut, The Destroyer, Dusie, Finery, Forklift, Ohio, h_ngm_n, Ilk, inter|rupture, Jellyfish, La Vague, Mistress, NonBinary Review, Phantom Limb, Route Nine Literary Journal, Sixth Finch, Spoke Too Soon, Quaint, the anthology Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation, and the anthology Hysteria. She is pursuing a PhD in Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she focuses on queer and feminist historiography, butch/femme experience, and archival research. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her two maine coon cats. Her website is katelitterer.com.

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