My friends are flakes. They disappear
under the watch of the sun.
Mostly white, my friends
are flakes—I catch
my tongue on them.
I am disappointed by my friends
whom I love like snow
which I love though it rarely comes
and, when it does, fails
if all but staying is failure.
The idea of failure may be useless
to me. My friends may be useless
to me, my friends. My friends,
I have already rejected
the valorization of usefulness.
Now, to rest, a flake among flakes, cold.


We sell our clothes to see our boyfriend.
We sell our plasma to see our boyfriend.
(We buy a plasma television and see on it a past boyfriend
on the local news. We buy a plasma television and see on it
a future boyfriend of our current girlfriend. A current
befriends the television: we are all working to make it work.
We are all working all the time. We are all working most
the time. We are some of us
working most. We aren’t all making the most
of our time or of money. We have no money.
We are wondering if a ghost is a form
of debt. We are haunted by debt. We are
hunted by the collectors of debt. We are
indebted to our boyfriend, whom we want to see.)
We sell our skill sets to see our boyfriend
during which visit we will use his skillet to make hash browns,
which we will divide onto separate plates.
We push our compensated bodies into gently used chairs.
We push our compensated bodies into chairs
both “on their last leg” and still having four legs.
We plop our compensated bodies onto three-legged stools.
We dedicate our bodies to our phones.
We hear our boyfriend.
We read our boyfriend.
We delete our boyfriend to receive more boyfriend.
We look around our house for more things to sell.
We look around our apartment for more things to sell.
We look into the bodies
of discarded VCRs and computers
for more things to sell.
We gut and sell, gut and sell.
We glean.
We glisten, having seen and screwed our boyfriend,
having sold to see.
Having nailed our boyfriend, having tooled around, we are soiled
and glistening.
We’d soil ourselves to see our boyfriend.
We’d pack soil into raised boxes and weed.
We have not yet resorted to selling weed to see our boyfriend.
We have not yet resorted to a midnight shift.
We buy beer with the money we could be saving to see our boyfriend.
We buy beer because we miss our boyfriend.
We use the adverb terribly.
We use the adverb sorely.
We soar to see our boyfriend.We soar to see our boyfriend.
We sip ginger ale and journal about our imminent seeing
of our boyfriend.
We develop strategies through which we will no longer need
reassurance from our boyfriend
he wants to see us.
We develop strategies in order to satisfy our needs.
We develop strategies in order to be reassured
our boyfriend is doing his part.
We are apart from our boyfriend.
We are a part of our boyfriend.
Our boyfriend is a part of us—
a thaw or mythology,
a cold heart or simply a cold:
a thing to get over, like a rapid
over which is suspended a bridge
under which is a churning.
A termite in our wood or
a might to our definitive will.
A chair in want of a seat.


My face plants things for me
when I’m sad, anticipates
my sadness. The sore growth
of a pustule, petal as
malleable yellow disk
emerging. Who is Kimberly?
I pick though I don’t choose.
I pick and pick. The shape of smallness
is large enough to be distinguished
human. I resist the resemblance
between humongous and human.
I resist you and fail. A shell
is attainable in my impoverished vision
of an egg. We yoke ourselves, one
to the other, and thus require ‘otherness,’
and thus acquire ‘otherness.’ A hunt
for the carcass of language begins.
Who was Kimberly? A ‘g’ descends
and makes its own nest I attempt to copy
though my punishing body won’t assist.
Seduced by repetition, a crack
listens for its own mending—
permission to make a go at negation again.
Come back to me so I may ease you.
Come back to me so I may erase you.


KRISTI MAXWELL is the author of seven books of poems, including Bright & Hurtless (forthcoming from Ahsahta Press), My My (forthcoming from Saturnalia Books), and PLAN/K (Horse Less Press). Her new work appears in Bennington Review, Black Warrior Review, and Boston Review. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Louisville.