Keetje Kuipers
| poetry


The world is trying to kill me
one news story, one sneeze,
one bad president at a time.
And maybe I don’t care
anymore if I’m dead. That’s what
I used to think when she put
her fingers inside me—
I don’t care if I die—it felt
so good. She loved my body
when it stank, when I hadn’t
showered or brushed my teeth,
she loved it in cheap hostels
or in apartments haunted
by a stranger’s cigarette smoke,
beneath the pale, hushed sheets
of her childhood bedroom,
when I was ill, on drugs, the day
after I’d gotten out of the hospital,
and every week of every month
for years, nothing stopping us,
her hands turned bright red
with the blood of loving me.
We’d put a towel down to sop
up the mess, as if I’d died,
as if she’d killed me, our bodies
collapsed on top of each other,
just one more murder-suicide,
everything but the gun, the knife,
the man to complete the scene.
And here we still are, despite every
loaded weapon, pulling a red
scarf from between my legs,
and me mumbling I could die, I could
, but still somehow alive.

Keetje Kuipers’ third collection, All Its Charms, includes poems honored by publication in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. Keetje is Editor of Poetry Northwest and a board member at the National Book Critics Circle.

Weak Teeth Are Hereditary