The Consolidated Monster of Past Lovers

Maggie Millner


Under your shirt an eighty-chambered heart
licks its sore spot like a dog. Your many hands
contend to light a match. Remember how you drove
a hundred flavors of junk car over the mountain
to my house? A lava lamp jellied in the window
like a flare. Sometimes I was fifteen, sometimes
flashing jewelry made of rain. We didn’t know
we had so many bodies to disband, to reattach
with wires to each other’s chests. Now
your lips wrap all the way around your head.


Alchemic memory is the only mojo
I believe. A guild of magi playing soggy waffle
on my lawn. There’s no part of any part
of you I haven’t touched, whether in love
or love’s belated rage. It’s not a joke—
those places where my hands failed to make landfall
are lesions now, or missing teeth, or fistulae
a girl could feel the wind through. I plug your gaps
with rice hulls and a wad of gum. I stuff
the carcass of a childhood pet beneath a rib,
a bouquet of sharpened pencils in your wrists.


God knows how you can get a date with all those arms.
There’s no birthmark I don’t recognize, and yet re-constellated
freckles make me squint. When asked your name,
it rang with homonyms and amateur guitar. Remember
you’re the average and the sum of twenty ages, twenty puppets
with their strings all knotted up. The music stops
and wooden heads bob into sticky light.
I parent shadows into beards, rogue lights
into an eye, the city’s breath into a mouth
my skull would fit inside.