Unruly Combinations: Two Poems by Isibeal Owens
does not bother to place a pillow
against the headboardーin fact,
I think he enjoys the rhythm
of my skull against the wood.
His penis continues its fracking,
its endless slamming, ripping
through membrane and cervix,
through sheaths of rum and rust.
I do not hate him. I assure myself
that my body is a stagnant pond:
undrinkable. From all the thrashing,
his student ID card flips to the floor.
He has the same name as my dog.
I want to laugh through the bile
in my throat, to point and woof
at his ugly chode. Instead, I let
the socket bleed. Two hounds,
humping to oblivion. Two sets
of primal teeth, flashing
at one another like lanterns
in the final storm.
Before long, he stops
to wipe my legs with a dirty towel,
pausing to scratch at the razor burn
on the scruff of his neck.
I slide my tongue over
my own aching chops.
I imagine my uterus sliding out of me,
gasping like a flounder at my feet.
It is prehistoricーan unruly combination
of feathers and gills wrapped in a slimy
sheen. The doctor tells me I’m not a failure.
This is very common. It’s better to find
out while I’m still young. Beside a container
of cotton balls, there are pictures of the doctor
cuddling her own drooling toddler.
I want to laugh. At 21, have become the spinster
with a pit of sand between my legs. Somewhere
in the back of my mind, I will always
measure my life in unsung trimesters.
The ancient Greeks would have probed
me with lead rods. The ancient Egyptians
would have force-fed me garlic. Apparently,
I am nothing if not a vessel for younger nothings.
I pass by the baby food aisle, thinking of
my daughters, my blood-gingham
angels, forever trapped inside
my ovaries. They call through conch shells
for pureed sweet potatoes. I indulge them.
I am happy to keep them bundled
in a film of membrane. The world is not
yet good enough for their velvet toes.
Isibeal Owens is pursuing her Bachelor’s in English at Rutgers University.