Jan/Feb 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2017 |

I Am Twenty-One

and my roommate is a man so beautiful he is not expectedto say anything true. We sleep separated by the suggestion of a door. He is so closeI hear his hard-ons and he my scabbing. I walk through his roomto get to the loo during the deep pocket of night through which he cocoons in a plaid of streetlightsstrained through bars. I think everything is practice and so I let myself love him a little, both what is there and what I justmake up, and I get so good at it I forget that I am loving a ghost. Sing to me, ghost, I say. We've forgotten to payfor everything—our lives candleson cardboard boxes, hot wax bleeding through the slits. There's lipstick on the wine bottle, jizz and toast in the sink. Nights I hear him pounding blondes through the hung-up sheet,I leave for the streets and look for a bruiseto walk into. I come back when the cats have begun their morning hate under the house and up in the walls,bodies full of fever and singing. 

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Erin Adair-Hodges is the winner of the 2016 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize for Let's All Die Happy (University of Pittsburgh, 2017). She is currently a visiting assistant professor of poetry at the University of Central Missouri where she is the poetry editor of Pleiades.

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