Tafisha A. Edwards

Respite (309 Days After)

But there are days I don't want to filet myself,
can slip into sleep—no Clonazepam needed—
without dreams of hands kneading the breath

from my lungs. Even a blowup doll needs
a tender touch. This morning the first thing
to brush my thighs was the sun schmoozing

through the shutters. Nothing except my own
pleasure demands I starfish on the sheets.
This is a day I want to keep all twenty–two

feet of my skin, each nerve ending and eczema
desert, especially when I stroke my clavicle
covered in lychee, shiver because that feels

like love. There's no damage here, just this Spanish
Moss hair, my own hands parsing through it.
The only edge I threaten to fall off of
is the mattress'.

Honeypot

while thinking of B

I'd want it too. My arch and bend. The salt of me,
the sleek, the prayer that isn't your name I bite

into a pillow. I could show you, you know. My seam.
How I lure the shyest part of me into staying out

the house just two minutes longer, until the first
streetlight pops on. I could let you kiss the mouth

that's always hungry, but I won't, this belongs
to me. What's between my thighs isn't a wildflower

or the world's wettest smile, just a collection of nerves
buried in weeded lawn. A rush of blood that swells.

I understand why you you'd want it so much.
How the memory of me might keep you warm,

but let me show you how I make my world end, just
to begin again—a cycle of sweet and little deaths.

Tafisha A. Edwards grows two kinds of mint. She is the author of THE BLOODLET, winner of Phantom Books' 2016 Breitling Chapbook Prize. Her work has appeared in The Offing, PHANTOM, The Atlas Review, Bodega Magazine, Fjords Review, The Little Patuxent Review, and other print and online publications. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Jiminéz-Porter Writers' House, a Cave Canem Graduate fellow, and a former educator with the American Poetry Museum. She is the recipient of a Zoland Poetry Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center and has received scholarships to The Juniper Summer Writing Institute, The Minnesota Northwoods Writers' Conference and other writing workshops and conferences. She is currently writing her first collection of poetry, Confusing the Wind.