A WOMAN NAMED by Ellie Slaughter

Dumpster, sperm endlessly pouring into her mouth
like the heads of flowers into a parade river.
This is not to say her only purpose is to lean her head back
for strangers, but something quiet is being filled
inside of her. A list? The names, or lack of names, lined her stomach
and stuck like cholesterol to arteries, or henna to hands of children,
young girls who want temporary beauty. Am I trying to say
she wants to be filled? No, a collector, took the identities
and tattooed them on strips of fabric — the man with the moustache,
the boy with fringed hair — to make a quilt. What started as a small
swatch to wipe away her own pouring became the burden of so much
fabric, it flooded the hotel room where she slept. She simply did not
have enough walls to hold these men.           Connection has a way
of drowning a person, your own name floats
down into the pond of strips. To grab it, you might find teeth,
the one you’ve always looked for to stop your gums from bleeding.
Ellie Slaughter is the author of the chapbook VIOLET (2015; available on Amazon), won the Roy F. Powell Creative Writing Award in Poetry (2011), and has been published in Anthropoid, NonBinary Review, and The Miscellany, and elsewhere. She is an MFA student at Lesley University and currently works as the prose editor for Sling Magazine while interning at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. In May 2015, she participated in Tupelo Press’s 30/30 project. Currently she lives in Salem, MA with her daughter.


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