Ashley Roach-Freiman


That tiny shower
in the carriage house
behind your parents’ You shed
concert shirt and jeans
gave me a sweaty beer
I didn’t want Get in
you said God’s gift I waited
by the vanity steamed-up
in my clothes Thought I should
You were the kind of poet
to equate a flower to a bruise
Purple writing Glad you’re sober
He got a girl who fucks weird
My friend said You didn’t call back
What did that mean
the first time you crawled into my bed
Pulled your clothes off Put your no-taste
mouth all over me Said love love love I thought
This A kind of power Texted me
on your wedding day Sounded pretty drunk
say things about your life hello? u up?
Fifteen years I haven’t thought much
about you What kind of person bruises so easy
Flowers in panic Fucks uninvited
Texts drunk on his wedding day
how are things I remember
I boot-crushed a can on your front door
You were fucking some not-me girl weird
You know I never liked
your fat mouth your hairlessness your absent smell
You know what you did You wrote a poem
about me that got me alone
You tore the condom off when
I let you fuck me violently They call that assault now
I had a lot of bruises not flowers
I smelled weird that night I left confused
and sore I went to where I worked
to feel safe I was alone
You didn’t call You got married
Stopped drinking I hear
how is your life u r awesome
Why did I continue to let you tug at me
Soft spots on my body
I even seemed
to want it If not you
In October the ginkgo drops berries
repulsive to crush Viscous stink
With the heavy heel of my boot I press
until one lances Inhale until I can’t
Is that power I have


Imagine, for a moment, that I rose
from myself, sleep-heavy, liquid

with bourbon, bottom-shelf. Held-down, pinned.
That I had elevated from my bed, and fisted the hair

of the man who, in darkness, had made claim
to what I had teased (my relative ease),

but not offered. How good that feels, to think
of it now. His arrogance, the stink

of his loneliness. His patchy beard. Imagine,
my most private self, staking claim, instead, of his head.

Ashley Roach-Freiman is a librarian and poet with work appearing or forthcoming in Bone BouquetTHRUSH Poetry Journal, The Literary ReviewGhost Proposal, and Nightjar Review. The chapbook Bright Along the Body is available from dancing girl press. Find out more at