It’s always the rot stench of the wound
that draws me in—the beetle to the Corpse Flower.
You were eager to unfurl your bruised blooms:
you told me about the poverty, the prison, your abusive,
alcoholic father. You winced to mention him. A palpable
stab. I ached to smell more of your festering, to share how it feels
to be birthed of betrayal. I wanted to open myself up
to you like a trench coat, show you the ax to my gut—
my mother. My vanished leg—my father. Now,
I wonder if the stalking, the drugging, the rape
was your wound reveal: This is the ghost
of my dead inner child. I’m here to show you
what can happen to children and how bad it can get.
The blood and feces in my sheets said, This bad.
Anne Champion is the author of She Saints & Holy Profanities (Quarterly West, 2019), The Good Girl is Always a Ghost (Black Lawrence Press, 2018), Book of Levitations (Trembling Pillow Press, 2019), Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013), and The Dark Length Home (Noctuary Press, 2017). Her work appears in Verse Daily, diode, Tupelo Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Salamander, New South, Redivider, PANK Magazine, and elsewhere. She was a 2009 Academy of American Poets Prize recipient, a 2016 Best of the Net winner, and a Barbara Deming Memorial Grant recipient.