Categories
2020 Poetry

Raye Hendrix

AFTER READING THE NORTH CAROLINA LAW THAT SAYS WOMEN CANNOT REVOKE CONSENT ONCE SEX HAS BEGUN I HAVE AN UNEVENTFUL DAY

I fill myself with the heat of a large
overpriced airport coffee.

Log the calories of my overpriced
airport bagel into the calorie counter

app taking up space on my phone
because I’ve been told so often that I shouldn’t take up space,

that my body to be lovely
must be small, that I’ve started

to believe it.
Flat stomach tight ass tighter

pussy breasts large but not
so large they sag or stretch—

my body must be constructed
by an impossibility of shapes.

A woman walks by with a man.
I don’t know if he’s her lover

but he grabs her ass and when
she slaps him he laughs,

not unlike last night when
at a bar in Atlanta I was so polite

to the man who came inside
behind me, followed me

because I’d been walking
downtown at night a woman alone,

that the bartender asked him
what we’d be having to drink.

I realize I left my headphones
in the taxi so I buy an overpriced

new pair before they call to board
my flight and then I board my flight.

Yes, that’s it. Is this not the poem
you expected?

Is this not what you wanted me
to say?


BAD FRUIT

The peaches turned
before I could pick them.

I told them, Fuzzy stars,
I envy you, flesh safe
from my father’s teeth.

I left the grove
with all the harvest
baskets empty, kept only
for myself a single
bruising peach.

I held it close to me
for days, brought it to bed
with me each evening,
pressed it to my chest,
shared my warmth until
it felt like another body—
one I thought I could love
without consuming—

No. It wasn’t my father’s
teeth that needed fearing.

I ate that rotten fruit
and it was sweet.


Raye Hendrix is a doctoral fellow at the University of Oregon studying Poetics and Crip Theory. She earned her BA and MA in English from Auburn University and her MFA from the University of Texas in Austin. Raye is the winner of the 2019 Keene Prize for Literature and the 2018 Patricia Aakhus Award given by Southern Indiana Review, and she has been an honorable mention for poetry in both AWP’s Intro Journals Project in 2015 and Southern Humanities Review’s Poetry Prize Honoring Jake Adam York in 2014. Raye’s work appears or will soon appear in 32 Poems, Poetry Northwest, Southern Indiana Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Shenandoah, The Pinch, Cherry Tree, and elsewhere. She is originally from rural Alabama.