★ Four Poems by Rebecca Kokitus

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baptism

cracked open like
fortune cookie, pungent
cotton like alcohol
soaked tampon, like
too much lavender oil
on my pillowcase,
keeping me awake

careful fingernail scissor
amputation, like separating
a worm heart by heart

swallow it
piece by piece

and it ravages me, I feel
like child me who had
swallowed a nickel
that my mother sifted
through my shit to find
then saved it in an envelope

there’s a rattle, and the
sockets of my eyes grow
dry rotted, my brain shorts out—

I feel every bead of sweat
on my flesh and feel
baptized

purgatory

you’re like something shoplifted
slipped into my pocket
something small and cheap
that I took for the thrill of it

I keep you like a secret—
the truth is being with you is
like being on drugs at work, like
breaking into something
abandoned

city bus sways like tide dance
no one’s face is beautiful
in this light, my insides
are a drunken jagged sob

you’ve fallen out of whatever
with me and that feels like
humidity, heavy, and I want to
rest my head anywhere but
your shoulder
and pretend I’m alone

but I love the city in ways
I’ll never love a man, I let
the cheap wine ruin my guts,
drowning baptism

I don’t know if I’ll ever visit
our old haunts again
because I think I’d feel
too much like a ghost

pulp

the air looks sweetened with honey / like afterglow / stricken pink earth / rosy lightning fingers / my veins are telephone wire pulled taut / lightning rod spinal cord / coiled telephone cord wrapped coyly around a finger / while the sky whispers pillowtalk words to the dirt / another missed connection / feverish earth gagged with vine / rotten plum earth teeming with worms / earth turned pregnant pulp / loves in breezes and poison oak caress / sunblown kiss, breath that scatters dandelions / seed by seed / I pray on tufts of milkweed / I wish on things that don’t know where they’ve been

necking

steady thump of my head
on the door like woodpecker
brain rattling in double-walled skull

switch positions, tangle of limbs,
me on my hands and knees
staring out the window
at the fireflies

I like acting out these
high school sweetheart trysts
with you, I like the dated feeling
of it all, I almost want to
call this “necking”

through the fog of our breath
I see headlights approaching,
and the moment turns sour,
but they’re gone as fast as
firefly blink

likely searching for some
dark lakeside spot to act out
some teenaged fantasy
or maybe searching for
a place to drown

or both

I remember the hole I burned
in your favorite pillow
the last time we came here
the way you burned a hole in me
and that makes me want a cigarette

Rebecca Kokitus is a poet residing in the Philadelphia area. She is a student at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she studies English with a concentration in Writing. Her work has been published and is forthcoming in over a dozen literary journals, most recently in Rhythm & Bones, {isacoustic*}, and Mookychick Magazine. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @rxbxcca_anna, and you can read more of her writing on her website: https://rebeccakokitus.wixsite.com/rebeccakokitus.

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