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Lena Judith Drake
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jealousy, pillowcase, your shrink face


Lena Judith Drake


your oral contact in the dugout of an empty stadium, she had a kid,

altruism, loneliness, you're throwing me off,

you don't pick, you don't choose, and now

topless, celibate hippie girls and me and me and me and me.

considerably more selfish.

losing focus on the boundaries they're fizzling and popping

the thin slices of burger you're cooking for both of us

counting trimesters on my stomach after i eat buffets.


i'm spotting and clotting, cysts bursting

or embryos cracking with too much vitamin c,

your soft penis between my knees and soap in our eyes.

too-skinny porn,

oh, but, oh, you like them for who they are and me and me and me and me and me.

i'm getting what i want?

question mark phrases? it's what little american girls do,

alice wants something else for me. i want something else for me? i love you?

what did i expect a shrink dating a poet.

but first you drew starships

on toaster streudels, blowing up in space suspension of disbelief

oxygen, O2, i know,

i'm the happiest person you know, you say,

and make yourself useful for all those around you

it doesn't matter who and you can get off

on the bed next to them, it doesn't matter who (but i am me

and me and me and me and me) she writes your name in all capital letters, too,

you've done nothing wrong and i don't fake it the problem is that


you've found the click between avoidant and ambivalent,

my circuits have shifted,


i'm seeing some future and there's no such thing, wipe my eyes

with your fingers or the corners of your folded-up oatmeal packet.

i'll have a scab on my chin from your steel wool

stubble if we don't stop making out.

you are wonderful to me you even tell the truth you'll even drive

6 hours for me you even drove 18 hours for an illinois girlfriend once

and me and me and me and me (girlfriend once will be me a day

probably sooner than i think

maybe next week not two years when i graduate

which is fine. but)


he brought me mcdonald's fries, i guess, woke me up by kissing me.

no not inside me,

i guess, i was sleeping in his basement bed while he was at work, i guess,

i didn't really know him, i guess,

i mean a lot longer than i've known you, but still.

so sleeping next to him was strange i guess,

and talking with his smoking, congested friends,

at his kitchen table.

laying on plaster-powdered carpet,

his roommate's cats crawling over my dusty hair.

it's all shrug and erasure now,

it's not like there was any blood i guess, my cunt even was more or less bloodless,

so not caring maybe makes sense.


i feel safe,

climbing over your ankles and blankets and blankets at night

to hand-scoop water from the bathroom sink and come back.

i don't even feel nauseous, between the wall and your God-knows-what-color shirt,

safe even when you thumb my crotch stubble,

and i can't even nibble on your neck you wimp, but


i feel safe with you; fuck you. look at my back. what does it tell you.

i don't need you, nyah, nyah, nyah, it says.

you read it when you fuck me from behind,

ignorance effort, do you want a merit badge?, and me and me and me?


i'm not planning our demise. it's months plus.

a week's when i unstick if i'm going to,

two weeks maybe, too much tongue in the high school gym.

months plus, i'm waiting to see if sometimes these things fade naturally

like they tell me. not what i've seen.

when i sleep,

i roll over into your armpit,

my forehead and your dirt-ringed elbows.

it's never graduation day long off,

it's always another week, a week and a couple of days,

and then you think,

oh it's happening again. oh right.


(oh except you don't leave,

ever, i remember now.

so it's up to or it's






President's Ball (I'll even close my eyes)


Lena Judith Drake



This is what I'll tell you, that first we danced.

If his erection against my tailbone is dancing,

if my arms taut to keep down the hem of my dress

is dancing,

and I thought, hey, maybe this wasn't such a good idea,

but I wanted a fuck.


And a slow song played, 

and then I thought about brown-eyed Girl;

jagged gray eyeliner on her lids,

she used to cry effortless and noiseless,

and all of a sudden

I was fifteen again,

face on the shoulder of a boy, but thinking of her.

Waiting to get slurped on,

lemon meringue pie to wash out his taste,

thinking of her.

It was still just her, at this point,

long past fifteen.

People drinking fancy beer on the dance floor.

Me, crying, with much effort, but noiseless.

His body must have been warm,

but I didn't notice.


And then he squeezed my hand and I remembered I had brown eyes, too,

and he was probably thinking of me.

One of those moments.


My hand muscles did something back

to his hand muscles,

but from my perspective, really,

I don't think I squeezed back.

Girls are complex. You need to know that.


I detached for bathroom breaks,

lines of hopping drunk girls,

and when I came back and he was holding me or something, swaying,

or something,

instead of closing my eyes I watched

a boy, a shitty writer in my class,

kiss his redhead boyfriend.

That made me happy.

I watched a girl and her schizophrenic boyfriend

sing to each other.

That made me sad.


He held on to me,

told me I was Delilah, hey there,

because I lived three hours away for school,

which I thought was a stupid thing to say. Cliché, too.

I thought about her haircut, shaved head,

and how I, Delilah, took away her power.

How we both took away each other's power,

and I knew that

but I still missed her, at this point.


I fucked him later that night,

by lamplight from under the loft bed.

I don't think I came. I might have pretended.

Or just said it sometimes feels good

not to come. There's that speech.


When I washed my dress later, the white bows got fucked up, turned gray.

Dry clean only, you know,

but the point is,


I'm not with you

like I was with him.

It's not like that anymore, and I'm surprised.

When I'm with you, I'm with you only.

From my perspective, really, my hand squeezes back.

I want you to know that.





Lena Judith Drake is a poet and student of Creative Writing at Grand Valley State University, and the editor of Breadcrumb Scabs magazine ( In her spare time she enjoys food and sleep. She has been previously published or is forthcoming in magazines such Clockwise Cat, Underground Voices, Drunk and Lonely Men, Nefarious Ballerina, and others. For information, please visit her website at

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