Poem: Harlem 2012
by Sara Fetherolf

Maya by Elena Mudd
Maya
Elena Mudd
35mm film
2016.

by Sara Fetherolf

A record August, so hot
the garbage melted in the pail. Too hot
to light the green nova candle
and pray for money; instead we prayed
to find the source
of corpse smell in the bedroom, and after

three days of it, discovered
on the outer sill
a pigeon—maggot-studded, rot-glowed—
and with our oldest wood spoon
I pushed it to the street.
The world was due to end that year

and I always get horny
about last chances.
100 degrees on the night
of the blue moon, I’m riding
cowgirl style, sweat-slimy,
and don’t realize

five teenage boys
passing their blunt
on the stoop across the street
are watching me
until I arch, tits skyward, orgasming
and they send up a cheer.

I may be no more
than a lit second-floor window
in the brains of five young men
—the vision
they pounded off to all midwinter
when they woke with the fear

something was missing, and found instead
it was there
same as it had ever been.

 

Sara Fetherolfʼs work has been published in numerous journals and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Hunter College, where she received her MFA, and is beginning her Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature at USC as a Dornsife Fellow this fall.

Elena Mudd is a Brooklyn-based photographer whose work focuses on sexuality, femininity, and growth. She aims to capture a sense of her subjects’ identities while exploring the connection and disconnection inherent to the human condition. elenamudd.com

This poem originally appeared in the Body issue. For more inspiring poems and stories by women, check out Divya Victor’s “This Whiteness is Bob Saget” and our poetry section.

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