What Erica Left

Square with the counter, an ID

with cirrus clouds dusting the surface


black eyes on the pillowcase and

boys with your name in their mouths.

I let you sleep.


He left a cigarette burn on your arm

dark, like he meant it.


you swirled like dishwater in a glass.

makeup on red eye, on bruised neck.


coked out and caked up, lipstick

that smeared all the way to your ear


but a note on the mirror. Sorry

to wake you. It’s fine.


your long hair tangled in the rug.

you were sleeping when I last saw you.


you left so quietly, Erica, left

so many questions on the counter, left


with my best jacket.


stay warm, erica. I left

the door unlocked.


I shave my brother’s head


on the back porch,

in the summertime.


His hair curls bravely,

expanding outward. halo.


I unwrap his white scalp

like a grapefruit into the sun,


there is so little between

his fine skull and the world.


My mother traces

the line where his forehead


begins to bristle with sharp-ended

hair returning. Reaching


back like my father’s. Widow’s peak

pointing to the crumple


of thick-boned consternation

occurring where his noble brows


reach to touch fingers.

My hand splays across


the severe bluish curve of his head.

There’s so much thrumming underneath.

Conquest, and a slingshot.


Little David, little rock.

He will sow work and wisdom

Into his own hands.


I carve young alexander out

and lay his Hellenistic curls to the soil

But I can’t shave

him into a grown man’s clothes.


Sara Schellenberg is a sophomore studying art and English at the University of Arkansas, hoping to do something worthwhile with her liberal arts degree.