Emma Bolden

After Three Whiskies Aunt Ruth Talks The Change

Under the bellow of a God come to blows you’ll sweat
the pits to fire, piss without your own volition
when your blue-haired best girl tells a joke for honey
is heavy in the twenties, lit light by thirty, all clovered

& coming up wet from the rushes you never dreamed
would shush desire, married to the shadows slicking up
your sheets. Sweet Jesus. Lets you know that He’s ready
to look you in the soul when your eyes pack bags for His

kingdom glories every curl unlocked, unlaureled, every
shower a hymn to how that baby tied a knot in youth’s
gold note. You couldn’t hold. Hung loose. Hurt-haunted.
Fawned up and flashing, hot as a wire kept livid on the line.

Weren’t you listening when you were young & ladied, didn’t
you know so many pretty deaths could a married us do part?
Listen, love. A dowry’s a damning. Let yourself go
wild in all the furred places. Pearl up that lightning. If he

don’t give the goods by God give him up. Dry up the pinks.
String each suffered moment to the haint you want to be,
canned up and jamming, for more precious is the plum
that falls once its flower’s fallen. Watch his hands hunch

into misery. Watch the ways his feet keep taking him,
taking him. Hallelujah. You’re your own away to go.