Those Gorgeous Ghosts

She found her tongue on the floor
and paper-clipped it to

the kitchen calendar. This was back in the day
of Separation. Permanence.
— Her Car, Jean Valentine

If I was her friend, I’d tell her to look out the window
Girl       there must be something
you can see from here
     One morning
she woke up     hands
out in front, searching for air
She found her tongue on the floor

Cat-hair tumbleweeds
if she can sing she sings
a cowboy siren
Heart a shipwreck       not lost, not forgotten
just     hard to get to
and paper-clipped to

photos of those gorgeous ghosts
In one her father turns from the lake
to smirk at the camera
Out on a bluff, hand on hip, blue corduroys cuffed
low sneakers             golden curls opening
into green leaves     green haze     Who
can read that face
breathing in the in-between
She puts him up by
the kitchen calendar   This was back in the day

before the Bud Light killed him     Location on the back—
scribbled out   No year
Maybe it’s Torch Bay
and she’s been born
They’re playing sea turtle out past the dock
Already she can hold her breath—
no such thing
as separation   permanence

My Anniversary

How much do I weigh
today? How much did I weigh
last night at the philosopher’s house, not
trapped but basically trapped
there, at the top of the stairs
by the rosemary bush. How
much do I weigh wearing
Karen’s green suede pumps, my dead father’s gold ring,
a hoody, holding a stack of books
in Emily’s bathroom? Today
I got my legs waxed. I needed someone
to hurt me a little. Today I survived
five subway rides,
laughed sincerely, played cards
non-competitively. How much do I weigh, stoned,
caffeinated, home
at 5 a.m., the cat thinks
it’s breakfast, the moon
huge, our conversation about complicity,
about all the things ever done to my body
and their qualifiers, after
an hour-long shower,
what is my responsibility?
I mean my fault. I draw a line
to my organs, my mouth
starts bleeding. I say
inside this skin is safety. Today I made
no wishes, I cooked, I washed dishes – it’s
my rape anniversary.
Here on the floor
spitting out the word woman.
It catches fire in twenty-nine forgotten languages
given to me by
what spirits standing by.
I look them in the eye. I look
for the world’s eye.

Down in our bed

P’s red heart grows evergreen
Shadows across her lip—

more than one tree

The light shining
from her sex
after I love her—

Whitman found a name
for that kind of light, I’m sure

I won’t name it
until the words bead
up like dew

Not until
they arrive

Out of respect and because someone
will use it against us
if I rush it—

even if unrushed


Corinne A. Schneider writes anti-love poems, femme anecdotes, and other ephemera in the House of Sex, Death, and Taxes. Her work is recently featured or forthcoming in Bone Bouquet, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Horse Less Press. She has her MFA in poetry from Hunter College in New York City. Corinne grew up in Michigan.