POETRY June 4, 2021

Split Portrait


Sometimes there are two
            of us. Sometimes we are both

in the room. I am sitting still as a knife
            and she is spinning

somewhere above me. A photograph
            poked full of holes and hanging

from a string. A makeshift lure
            I bite. Every time there is blood

in the air. Every time the light
            bleeds through differently.


In the dark I drop my shape,
            my knife. Clothes tossed

on the floor. A fairy circle
            around the bed, attempted

protection. I’m always under
            the covers when I undress.

I always wait until morning
            to tidy up.


Greedy for giving, I spill
            across the bed, a wound

old as hunger, festering.
            Often, nausea. Often,

damp sheets in the morning.
            I am not a woman, but god

doesn’t care. Pits me red, candy
            pulp on the tile. The bathtub,

the morning their own violence. I hold
            my own head underwater.


Every time I find another
            way home.

I find another name to call
            myself. I find

a familiar in a window. I smile
            at my reflection.

Jane Morton is a poet based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where they recently received their MFA from the University of Alabama. Their poems are published or forthcoming in Boulevard, Passages North, Poetry Northwest, The Offing, Muzzle Magazine, Redivider, and The Rupture, among other journals. They have received a Fulbright Fellowship and a Katharine Bakeless Nason scholarship for the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers Conference.