Phantom | Dahlia Seroussi

Nights you couldn’t come
I held your shaking body—

muscles tight as rope,
sobs filling the space

between my breasts.
I was your cavern.

I couldn’t leave you
crumpled, defeated

in sheets soaked by a cry
other than the clamor

of lovemaking. The truth:
your tears shackled me to you

from one fall to another.
Even now, the strike

of someone’s stare
sparks a phantom

who licks my wrists
and whispers honey, do you dare?

Truth: for years I’ve left men
in a dervish, in the wince of release,

moan still echoing
into the silence

of a moonlit room.
My chest is the first part of me

to vanish. I am their phantom now,
chained to nothing but the gravity

of fear, the hunger
for flight, singular

battle cry ringing out
into the night.

Dahlia Seroussi is a Jewish Latina poet who earned her MFA from Oregon State University. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in North American Review, Normal School Online, Kentucky Review, Monterey Poetry Review, Eleven Eleven Journal and Chinquapin. Her chapbook What I Know was published by Finishing Line Press in 2013. Dahlia can fit in most dryers.

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