After the Girl

Amy Woolard


It’s just a chapped lip that won’t stop bleeding. Let me
Try that again: strip where the field of the face meets

The woods of the mouth is called the invitation—No,
It’s called the vermilion border. There are nameless parts

Of the body that are designed to absorb someone else’s
Hands. It’s just a chipped piece of light that thought

It had my number. It’s tough to handle a fish hook &
Not get stuck, the clef of it kissing your hands.

Sometimes, just like anyone else, I see red. In the
Nameless story of twelve years ago, a girl takes herself out

Of the picture like pulling something a hound
Shouldn’t eat out of its mouth. A strong female lead.

Sometimes, just like anyone, I try to wrap my head
Around it. Any number of ways to absorb someone else.

Picture it—a girl, her mouth, a brick-red house & you
Without your invitation. Let me try it again. Let the pale

Black lake under my left eye take its name from the girl
Who got hooked, got stuck. It’s tough to handle.

Sister, my head aches the way a brick aches when it
First touches mortar. It sounds naughty, the way you

Say it: The house has me in its backwater embrace.
That morning, it wasn’t the light that hit me.