By Jeffrey Alfier
By Jeffrey Alfier

By Katie Hogan

i will remember you—blonde guilt
knuckles white, gripping the steering
wheel while behind you
six years old i thumb the faux
leather of your old white volvo.
you wear scars like bracelets
on your wrist, where the dogs tried
to swallow you. behind you,
in the backseat, there is a burden
and you are choking on it.
my stubby fingers remind
you of his, powerful and
violent, like the way he
said your name before pushing
you against the oven and
telling you that he loved you.
blonde guilt, i ran around
your bathroom chanting the
echoes that the television taught me;
running my thumb over your razor
watching as our blood filled the tile
cracks while you stared at your body
in the mirror. i am like you—
tiny but already full of rage
imagining that i stand out
in a world of ponies and daddy’s
pistols. i will remember you,
and how we drove up the coast
alone and you told the police
it was my fault; covered in black
in the passenger seat, i am the
burden. you were told that you
would be saved, but you grabbed
your wrist in fear that the dogs would
start to gnaw again. we took
the same pills and slept in
the same bed; twenty years old
i watch you, grey guilt now
a new monument of protruding bones
hollow stomached relics lining
the hallway. i am like you both—
you taught me how
to touch myself to the thoughts
of the men who left me,
and daddy taught me how to be sexy
by placing a barrel between my teeth.
grey guilt, he got away from the dogs
we want to be saved but
the dogs are getting closer
they’re growling and gnawing
and you’ve taught them
to come after me.

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