Two Poems

by Zefyr Lisowski

Zefyr Lisowski is a trans poet from the South. She’s the author of the short poetry collection Blood Box (Black Lawrence Press, 2019) and a poetry co-editor at Apogee; her poems and essays have appeared in Waxwing, The Offing, Literary Hub, and elsewhere. She’s received support from Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, Blue Mountain Center, and the Center for Book Arts; Zef’s also the recipient of a 2020 Center for the Humanities Adjunct Incubator Grant for Wolf Inventory, a collaborative film about ghost stories and sexual violence. She lives in Brooklyn and at zeflisowski.com.

 

Girl Work (Pop Song)

Everyone’s mother had a little house with a river by it

Everyone’s mother lived in the suburbs

for the first time and liked the new Ke$ha album more than she’d think 

Cross-class relationships in the supermarket        boutique vegan products for her boutique vegan
child

When she had my sister my mom was fourteen and when I was fourteen I had sex too but
wouldn’t realize that was what it was until

years later when a boy did it to me after I actually asked him to

When I was fourteen I thought everyone was a friend I rode my little bike I listened to the radio

I tik toked I didn’t stop

I on the clock DJ turn the speakers up and everyone’s mother bopped along

We all liked Ke$ha because she had a song about fucking co-written by her rapist

A song about dying co-written by her rapist a song about fucking a ghost co-written by her etc.

Everyone’s mother walking in the suburbs listening to the radio eating vegan sandwiches

We liked Ke$ha because she made it easier to say not saying anything was okay

Everyone’s mother bopping along

When I was fourteen I didn’t say anything to my etc. we ate vegan sandwiches and together he
raped me

But I did say “I’m not sure” I did say “maybe some other time” and he pulled me onto his vagina
and stroked my chest

The little river-stones of the suburb the manufactured sheeny pop beauty of it all 


 

 

Girl Work

I am not talking about everyone’s mother but mine moved into the suburbs long after I had left

“It’s so quiet here,” she said        (deer were everywhere)     I can’t imagine what it was like                                                     (deer were everywhere)

How much has everyone’s mother been through to get her little home to get her degree to get her
daughter to get her degree

My mother married the man who got her pregnant     and at fourteen he got her good 

She was fourteen she married him in the woods of Maryland. With flowers in her hair

When the restraining order came through she moved away she walked by the river she moved
into the suburbs and started planting azaleas

What was it like to be that poor and scared and alone

The flowers        everywhere

 


Zefyr Lisowski is a trans poet from the South. She’s the author of the short poetry collection Blood Box (Black Lawrence Press, 2019) and a poetry co-editor at Apogee; her poems and essays have appeared in Waxwing, The Offing, Literary Hub, and elsewhere. She’s received support from Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, Blue Mountain Center, and the Center for Book Arts; Zef’s also the recipient of a 2020 Center for the Humanities Adjunct Incubator Grant for Wolf Inventory, a collaborative film about ghost stories and sexual violence. She lives in Brooklyn and at zeflisowski.com.

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