First section

Echo

(to be wanted)
Jaimie Lee
Content warning: misogyny

“I want you”

The Man borrows the baritone intonation used to buy

that patchwork bag he liked in Kauai

syllables strung together with the softness of silk

scarfing around her neck until they tighten like a noose

the kettle shrieks like a banshee because she cannot

silently, she watches him  

pour scalding water into cold milk

from beneath him, The Man is the highest peak

his shoulders block the view beyond the window

hands rough as earth find her neck, breasts, hips, thighs,

then carve initials into her back and etch promises  

on her ribcage with perfidious fingers

the fall from his bluffs is tender on her brittle bones

but she does not make a sound as she hits the ground  

the water turns lukewarm like forgotten tea

as she loses her aching body to the cast iron tub

The Man returned the patchwork bag, remember,

he wanted the smaller one with the fuller ass

so she stopped eating her feelings

and let them eat away at her instead

but when she pulls the plug

hopeful the swirl will suction her down with it

her folded, naked limbs still prove

too big for the drain,  

too big for him

she waits for The Man like leftovers on a refrigerator shelf  

wondering how many times he can freeze and thaw her

before he decides the meat has gone bad

she despises how hungry eyes give her purpose

like a dead cow on a dinner plate

but who is she, if not whetting someone’s appetite

when he circles back, as he always does

she polishes her words along with the silverware

The Man talks politics, the fiction of gender gaps

another tongue is bitten off

swallowed down with a smile

only to grow back like a lizard tail

he pauses – “women say ‘I think’ too much”

the old tongues writhe with wrath in her gut

maybe some (but #notall) men need reminding that women fucking think

but she follows the script as he stirs the tea

once more, The Man is kind enough to say “I want you”  

and when he gives her this gift of validation

(even if that’s all he is willing to give)

then she may speak – she must speak –

but only to echo,

“You.”

First section

Echo

(to be wanted)
Jaimie Lee
Content warning: misogyny

“I want you”

The Man borrows the baritone intonation used to buy

that patchwork bag he liked in Kauai

syllables strung together with the softness of silk

scarfing around her neck until they tighten like a noose

the kettle shrieks like a banshee because she cannot

silently, she watches him  

pour scalding water into cold milk

from beneath him, The Man is the highest peak

his shoulders block the view beyond the window

hands rough as earth find her neck, breasts, hips, thighs,

then carve initials into her back and etch promises  

on her ribcage with perfidious fingers

the fall from his bluffs is tender on her brittle bones

but she does not make a sound as she hits the ground  

the water turns lukewarm like forgotten tea

as she loses her aching body to the cast iron tub

The Man returned the patchwork bag, remember,

he wanted the smaller one with the fuller ass

so she stopped eating her feelings

and let them eat away at her instead

but when she pulls the plug

hopeful the swirl will suction her down with it

her folded, naked limbs still prove

too big for the drain,  

too big for him

she waits for The Man like leftovers on a refrigerator shelf  

wondering how many times he can freeze and thaw her

before he decides the meat has gone bad

she despises how hungry eyes give her purpose

like a dead cow on a dinner plate

but who is she, if not whetting someone’s appetite

when he circles back, as he always does

she polishes her words along with the silverware

The Man talks politics, the fiction of gender gaps

another tongue is bitten off

swallowed down with a smile

only to grow back like a lizard tail

he pauses – “women say ‘I think’ too much”

the old tongues writhe with wrath in her gut

maybe some (but #notall) men need reminding that women fucking think

but she follows the script as he stirs the tea

once more, The Man is kind enough to say “I want you”  

and when he gives her this gift of validation

(even if that’s all he is willing to give)

then she may speak – she must speak –

but only to echo,

“You.”