After He Calls Me A Low-Hanging Fruit


I have a dream in

which I am staring

at the dead branches

of a black tree, bold

against blue sky.

On the highest branch

stands a girl in a red

school uniform.

I am mesmerized

by the intensity

of color, so I can’t

be sure whether she

jumps or falls, but her

impact shakes me.

The red of her

uniform, the red of her

blood, of her insides—

that heap of red against

the grass looks,

to me, like apples.





Blackout is the tear in your dress. It is flashing

red and blue, the officer guiding you

to the curb. Blackout is your car crumpled,


a broken fist. It is lost time between

the bar and this intersection, this crossroads,

if you will. And you will—you must—because all signs


indicate your luck is spent. Blackout is knowing

in your muscles what has happened, but not knowing 

how or when or with whom. Blackout is falling


into his bed, but before his hands are on you,

you have faded away. Blackout is nodding,

Yes, I remember, but this is a puzzle


missing pieces; the absences nag like the edge

of a chipped tooth or sharp prongs of an empty

setting that used to grasp a gem. It’s forgetting


where you left your shoes. It’s shame gagging you, fingers

prying you open. It eats you up, then spits

invectives. Blackout is for girls like you


who can be tossed like rag dolls, rearranged.

You won’t complain, won’t say a word to stop it.

You’re so far gone, you barely feel a thing.


About the Author

Elizabeth is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2013Southwest Review, The Threepenny ReviewThe Normal School, and other journals. She teaches English at Calvert School in Baltimore, Maryland. Chaos Theories is her first book.