I am so tired of the messes men make, without apology.
Messes in my kitchen, my body
bread crumbs and bottle caps,
on the insides of my thighs.
This careless way of owning,
for a moment, their rude appetites
thick as a swamp
and just as deadly.
I called my mother
two weeks after an alligator's lust sent me to the hospital.
My guts infected, rotting, looking for their nearest exit
and she said, “That is his poison inside you.”
He is an oil spill on the ocean of my skin.
But he offers to bathe me better.
Tries on words like, “I'll do anything.”
And what he means is not
“I'll do anything for you,”
“I'll do anything to you.”
my bloody hands
and this sink full of dirty dishes.
Originally a prairie mutt from Oklahoma with West Virginia roots, Ashe Loper is a park ranger and poet currently working in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her poems have been published in L'Éphémère Review, Persephone’s Daughters, and Words Dance Publishing. When she is not writing or educating the public about cultural and natural resources, Ashe gives her time and voice to the growing intersectional organization Rural Feminism; this movement aims to highlight and discuss specific struggles of rural women when faced with rapidly-declining resources and systemic inequality. Ashe also participated in the Oklahoma Teacher’s Strike of 2018 and remains passionate about rural education reform.