Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

In Which I Look Both Ways Before Getting Into Speeding Cars by Kait Quinn

Banged my skull against a Honda door,
and it’s been fuzzy ever since. It’s been vodka and

Cook’s, Mountain Dew we never should have mixed
with whiskey. Never should have stripped from the waist down

right next to a playground. Never should have said no,
then welcomed you home with open femurs,

gaping mouth. Or maybe you never came back from college
that summer, and I didn’t give you head in the AMC

parking lot, didn’t choke on your ungodly load of spunk.
Maybe I never let you borrow that fictional memoir and still turn

back to the asterisked passage about the woman who is all breast,
thigh, and bruised pubic bone but just wants to be loved.

Maybe I read it without one hand pressed against my drum-hollow
chest, eyes spilling into the canyon of my lips because in this scenario,

I can’t relate. And absolutely I should have melted my lips
into Calvin’s at every red light, made an orchestra of his mattress

springs in the morning. And maybe I shouldn’t have let Devin
fuck me hours before I finally told B I’d be his girlfriend.

I don’t regret it. But I never should have parked in the barn,
unzipped blue jean curtains for John, let the horse’s pupil witness

him slip inside me without a condom. Or maybe there was a condom.
Or maybe there wasn’t. Maybe there was no hay in the tire grooves, no

passenger seat at all, not a man’s lap but a mare’s back between
my thighs. Maybe my hand slid down her nose, and I deep throated

my own wild, came home beneath a cathedral arched with aged
wood and backcountry moonlight, legs bowed but unbruised.

Bio: Kait Quinn (she/her) was born with salt in her wounds. She flushes the sting of living by writing poetry. Her work has appeared in Reed Magazine, Watershed Review, Chestnut Review, and elsewhere. She received first place in theLeague of MN Poets’ 2022 John Calvin Rezmerski Memorial Grand Prize and an honorable mention in the 2023 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize. Kait lives in Minneapolis with her partner, their regal cat, and their very polite Aussie mix. Find her at kaitquinn.com.

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