Planned Community, Southern Ohio
The woman you sometimes picture me
with posted photos: slaughtering a hog.
She’s a wolf, I’ve been told. Often
I picture myself in a bathtub of worms.
How to tell about small kindness: I am not
the sort of person to make an altar
of men. I am not the kind of person
to stand in the doorway of a motel,
my dress a beaded curtain. I put away sex
like a hatbox. I need nothing but a glow.
I get my fix from sleep and sugar.
I need no touch but a wing.
The thing I remember most
was the steaming
body laid open on a steel garage plank,
amid the ATVs and the open air.
Grit punks getting it done.
Because there is no sate without struggle.
I wait. You wait with plates.
The bamboo feels solid as silk
or scalded water.
In the photos, the hog was a rib pink blur:
the boys with knives—and the white air, rising.
Alison Stine‘s first novel Road Out of Winter was published in 2020 (MIRA/HarperCollins). Also the author of several books of poems, including Ohio Violence, her awards include an NEA Fellowship and a reporting fellowship from National Geographic. A longtime resident of Appalachian Ohio, she now lives in Colorado and writes for The New York Times and others. Her next novel, Trashlands, releases in October 2021.