cunt medium

I. contrition

rabbi thinks I’m running
from history                into a history
of people running
I do not tell                              how I have
given up          meetings with closed office doors
between parked cars                            in college stairwells
where red neon signs              flash
over men’s faces         I do not tell
I will not call                           anyone             father
say no three times        but                   he
doesn’t            just reminds me                       of what I am
giving up

yishar koach

            B’ezrat Hashem


II. confession

When I say I order a steak I mean, men order my steak for me. They clench my hand into a fist and poke the fatty bits at the bottom of my thumb so I know my own meat when they talk about texture and blood. It’s not really blood, they explain. Myoglobin turns red when exposed to air

 I will only speak to you after you are dead

my favorite poet was a twin Oracle / knowing our futures before we decide our actions
he is embarrassed of this now / the egg on his face / please do not mention
still, how fitting / that he would know then of my mother dying / my year of lechery / slut

 our punctuating bodies, slathered on canvas. I never knew the petal as the vulva until he pointed
burnt garden teacher

 even Jay strayed from B, ya feel?

I wrote a poem for Junot Diaz. When I was writing, it was before I knew, but we all knew and he knew and simultaneously I was writing a poem simultaneously he was pulling a chica onto his lap and smothering her tears and I was writing a poem and erasing your name and now that we know and I know, too, I delete my poem

 my patron saint is a piano mover / a part time job of yours, cash slid under the table / when you dropped out of school / when you were in France and lost your passport / running from your father

 there is a before you, there is an after you / a mitosis I never agreed to

 my patron saint is a piano mover / hung around my neck / he is the blackest water filling / my throat / the smell of sewer in my hair / I could never relate to fragile ankles / resting on dashboards / he knows how to fight / how to chase
alcohol lungs
he promised to teach / me,too

III. penance

 epigenetic marks are sliced on my bones,
like an earthy stick, a branch someone long ago picked up
to count, to trade, to subtract the difference
between you and me and nematode worms

            did you cry when she shaved her head 
            when she insulted the pope

the earthworms were all cut up, divided
each piece slithering and growing long
living and mating and birthing
still fearing the smell of cherry blossoms

unfaithful, as if i was not in prayer
when he had me on my knees

 there is no harm in carving where heads
will grow back, no use in crying over crawling things
beneath us, no grief when babies are born,
bald and virgin and remembering

IV. absolution

rabbi thinks I’m running
from history                into a history
of people running

I will ask him
can I be both
running from and running to,
like the pavement reverberating
your bones, breath caught
in your throat
can the call to god be  

A Breath in Multiverse

In your love letters, you said that everyone ought to make a list of reasons not to kill yourself. It’s a wonderful memento to keep in your coat pocket, you said, because all it takes is one quiet train ride before we consider the bullet in our brain. I keep old tissues in my coat pockets. Handkerchiefs are out of style and no one wants to stick their hands in my pockets because they know I have allergies I have nosebleeds that is why my face is always red and puffy not because I have been crying in my sleep again never again at least not until winter comes there are self driving cars now because we live in the future but people hate the machines and now philosophy has joined the computer algorithms as is its right to tell us the value of human life if the machine fails and an accident is inevitable do you does the machine save the driver at all costs or does it choose calculating the mathematical potential of which life weighs more predicting who is most likely to kill themselves at twenty-three and who will survive on to complete Great Things and if  I had a self driving car I would need it to know to have it written in its code about my friend who drove a pair of scissors into his wrist how we paid a stranger to clean up the blood while he was gone how I have no money to pay anyone to clean up my corpse so if it comes down to us and the side of the concrete wall I want my machine to know I am statistically already dead and that with us both gone me and my machine everyone will point at the debris all fire and blood and say that we are heroes for sacrificing the few for the many for escaping our instinct and choosing the concrete wall so that others may live but my machine and I will know that my pockets are filled with wet and bloody tissues and never a list of names.

Cheyenne McIntosh is a fiction editorial intern for Juxtaprose @juxtaprosemag and a student at Franklin College, where she writes about gender-queer studies in science fiction. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming from carteblanche, Likely Red Press, Okay Donkey, Digital Americana Magazine, and others. She recently received her first Pushcart Prize nomination and was named one of Indiana's Best Emerging Poets for 2018. You can find her @crm_writes.