The Dialogue


I say, Some parts of me are like this—

and open his hand

Rain water funnels into the pink


Thin channels of water

branching out and then contracting

as if surface tension isn’t a thing at all


He says he doesn’t understand

how I made him this way

so porous


I did it to show you, I say

made us parallel and reflective


He says, I cannot accept this

He means to say my body

but the word has too much shape

doesn’t fit well between his teeth


He searches for answers

but he’s too distracted

by the bright flush of stars

dappling the mid-day sky


How odd today is, he says

dragging his fingertips against

the cotton of my overcoat


I tell him, No—

This isn’t what you are supposed to see

and make with the unbuttoning


Underneath is a stretch of land

white, winter land with a center of melt


He turns to walk away

I am not this too

Yes, I say, you are this too



The Dialogue II


She says, Some parts of me are like this—

She says this as she undresses

exposing herself to him in the dead of winter

in a dead field under a shocked sky


This is the scene of it

the time and place of her opening


She tries to show him through his hands

through mirroring

but even this miracle is too small


He fingers her overcoat

his last attempt at softness

but she is angry


No, she says, No—

and removes every stitch

un-sews herself at the middle


All that warm begins to spread

out from her center and all over

her white skin


And the boy leaves her there—


A girl standing naked in a field

holding her heart


Zoe Etkin


Zoe Etkin is a Los Angeles based poet, student and educator. She is a recipient of the Beutner Award for Excellence in the Arts for her poetry. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Burning Word, Poetry South and Glyph.

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