Amy Saul-Zerby

stop me if you’ve heard this one

unlike me, she has / a handle on it / unlike
you, he is not / in control

i tell her be / careful it’s / a slippery slope /
she says / you’re wise / & that she could
never / like him again / but the sex

is still good / & i have been That Girl
under / That Man thinking / i’m in control
or that / i want to be

and i have bandaged / my wounds with
flesh only to rip / it off and the sex /
was still good until / it wasn’t

and after // tell myself i kept fucking you /
because i didn’t want that time to be / the
last time // the night i could taste /

her on you but didn’t / realize and you fell /
asleep inside me // it wasn’t that i
needed / to keep doing it /

but that i thought / i could repair it // i want
to be controlled until / i don’t & then i do /
it all again // she said keep pushing

yourself through your strange / cheese
grater of trauma / cycles // i thought /
‘pushing myself?’ / i thought /

no one wants this it’s just / what happens
it’s what / we do it isn’t / that i want this i
didn’t mean / for this to happen i couldn’t
possibly because who /

would want this / and what would that
say / about them // quoting himself
back to him as / they fuck

so it’s okay // i am not angry anymore but i
never / forgave her // i am not angry /
anymore but i still want

to fuck you // two girls walk into / a trauma
cycle & one of the girls says / get over it /
and the other / snaps back /

into herself // two trains leave / the station
going in the same / direction at different
times / and imagine it /

a competition / and imagine it / free will /
two girls jump / from the same plane at
the same / time and both /

survive so who cares / two girls tie
themselves / to the train tracks for fun
and / it’s fine // they’re in /

control they know / better it’s just / good
sex // i’m not saying / she should learn
from / my mistakes // in florida

a man at the bar says / you’re not like /
her mother are you / and i feel his /
fingernails claw at my / back

as i recoil from / the insult slash / joke //
and from the man / & my anger at her is
gasoline & i only want to be / controlled

until i don’t and i don’t tell her / that i can’t
make myself come without / crying now /
and i wouldn’t wish this on anyone but //

two girls walk into / a patriarchy / a
trauma cycle / a bar / america / each
other / one says excuse me

and one says i’m sorry / and they both
say / it’s fine // and they’re both / lying but
they both / survive so who cares

Amy Saul-Zerby is the author of Paper Flowers Imaginary Birds (Be About It 2017) and Deep Camouflage (Civil Coping Mechanisms 2018). Her poetry has appeared in The Rumpus, The Chicago Review of Books, Maudlin House, Peach Magazine, Luna Luna, and Painted Bride Quarterly. She is the editor-in-chief of Voicemail Poems and author of the Notable Philadelphia column at The Rumpus.

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