Inventory With Petrichor & Blackout


I don't know what she wanted
               that summer we stitched our dresses
                              into ourselves but I know

I kept looping needles into my skin and smiling
               at a camera, sweating a little
                              in the small of my back. Each stitch

made me feel a little better,
               or so I told myself. Each made
                              a tiny contusion in the sky; a hum

in my backteeth. Each was a footstep,
               a new black spot on a lung.
                              I know I got jacked three times

and was only drunk one of them.
               I don't remember the faces of the women
                              I slept with or the men who robbed me.

I know each hour clicking over
               was a little needle of gin.
                              Once I waved my hand through the air

and combed the clouds straight as Venetian blinds
               just so the slats would fall splintered
                              on her body as she posed

for a selfie. Most days started
               with an idea, then continued with twisting it
                              until it snapped in two.

last exit

I want to know

a girl well enough to know

when she's drunk

just by the look in

her eyes. I'll bury

my head in the sand

of her graveyard at the edge

of our village.

What that girl leaves

in her glass I'll suck

of the rinds. I'll kiss

someone else with

her pith in my teeth.

girl working the bumper sticker booth in the Harris Teeter parking lot

A whitegirl like a plane going down but still shining.
Whiteboys who died curled inside yellow ribbons

shellacked to the back of mama's sputtering
Olds. Girls who fell over

state lines and got up running. Girls pouring Domino sugar
straight from packets to throats. Learning how fast ice melts

against wrists or last drinks. Forgetting how quick
hydrangeas & fruitflies bloom. The past

just some seeds in her teeth. Dead cousins
she sold to get out of work. Deadbolt stories

spat out like come in her teeth. Forgetting
the future like keys. Forgetting those months

she let a man tie her up for money
and another for free. The past just going to the matinee

to find the parking lot dark after. Her skin just a ghost
I've gotten so used to I'm not afraid anymore.

Nina Puro's work is forthcoming or recently appeared in BETTER: Culture and Lit, H_ngm_n, Hobart, Indiana Review, Jellyfish, Prelude and other places. A chapbook, Two Truths & A Lie, will drop from dancing girl press in 2015. Nina lives in Brooklyn, works in publishing, and is bad at thinking of clever third-person quips to put in places like this.