by Adel Clifton
Men aren’t always safe.
We write it into their hands,
tell them “you scare me”.
“you are a pine needle”.
If you tell a needle it is a tree
Does its small sapling grow branches that cut?
Is my fear of dark forests
for young women with knifebacks and pinktongues
The night comes and my fear blooms full:
The sap tastes funny tonight.
don’t let the girls get the moonshine
Too many boxes and numbers
I don’t think I could take another waterlogged phone call.
If she puts her hands in the water is it surefire that she’ll
Leave with eel stings?
My Friend, thank you for being a realist.
I want you to run through birch trees wearing
but I fear we’ve woven violence too far into our men’s
Don’t go into that dark night
Make another moon shine
let me be your mother
And for the love of god don’t get bitten
Cause tree stings don’t heal quickly.