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.