When You Find Me, Ragged, Remember
the fleas are no indication as to how
I look. Let the record show that I wore
lavender to ward off scorpions.
By scorpions, I mean men—
their mouth over my
mouth. I bite hard into
bud and let them repel off.
Let the record show that I speak
in a circular tongue. How can I not,
when to scream I must hollow
my throat and let the wind do its work?
You wanted me wild,
so here I am. The fleas
are no indication as to how
long I’ve been here. I washed
my feet in the river. That was enough.
I was proper
-ly armed: I sheathed wires
in my bra and formed tight
bear paws to punch a man’s
You wanted me wild
so I chopped my hair
with rusted kitchen shears.
And you despised me.
So when you find me, ragged, remember
I wore lavender for you.
Carly Joy Miller's work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Blackbird, Boston Review, Third Coast, Vinyl Poetry, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Pushcart and was a finalist for the Stadler Fellowship. She is a contributing editor for Poetry International and a founding editor of Locked Horn Press.