Persona Poem

Erinn Batykefer


I like the feel of a body
remembering a person that isn’t there:

every kiss undertaken like a shivering virgin,
like a green junkie chasing the first high.

It’s as if your senses search for you,
calling your name down empty hallways,

but finding only me. See, if I pour my will
through my eyes,

I can enter you like a lobotomy spike
and wear your skin like a costume,

run around as not-me and also not-you,
my original body slumped in the hallway

like a shucked coat, milky eyes staring,
till I come back to it.

You won’t remember this,
of course. You won’t even remember

me telling you not to. There’s only now–
the now of a screaming orgasm, the now

of your hand tearing your lover’s eye
from his face so I can crawl inside.

How I dance him till his ankles break.
How you clap.




Erinn Batykefer earned her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the author of Allegheny, Monongahela (Red Hen Press) and The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide (Coffee House Press). She is co-founder and editor of The Library as Incubator Project, and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.