Kristen Rouisse

Last Call

Remember how the stars shackled us to bed? Bodies writing
on printed sheets, television teasing blue beneath a locked door.

We’d study their carton-cropped faces
—sugar flakes sinking beneath lukewarm milk.

Is this how you imagined it? Undersides of your knuckles
cupping the wheel’s soft crescent, skull lolling like a dog’s.

And yet, the sun rises; flies press their palms
together in prayer.

Atop the scarred median: endless glass,
your disembodied form—
                       sheet sheathed, flare lit.



When we speak       pretend we’re lovers and not two mouths
fumbling for the lip of another pint glass to       casually

Let me fall into the back of your throat       like whisky
laced with sugar, lovelier with every           swallow.

So when we take off our clothes, nothing will change
        and the stoplight will still briefly burn yellow
        and if the bed’s wooden doe legs wobble

it means—we’re trying too hard. It means you finally hold a door
open and I walk through
too quickly, concentrate on the rhythm of my skirt hem and miss
                                                      that first step.

Author Portrait

Kristen Rouisse is completing her MFA in poetry at the University of South Florida, where she teaches creative writing and composition. Her work has appeared in Thin Air Magazine, Broad!, and elsewhere. She’s a former poetry and nonfiction editor for Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art and was nominated for the 2015 AWP Intro Journals Award in poetry.