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Jenna Lyles

Renée's Kettle

heard all about your ooze. see-through as a glass whistle

passing angry wind. finally. your loud mouth leapt over

to our tandem dream and covered the walls, the ugliest pink

come out blushing like a smooth-barked workbench asking

for ass. I’m talking globs great as your candied worrytears.

my memory’s tonguehammer is fixing to draw it out of you—

or the steel claw, if you’re still acting stubborn. but how come

it got to be like that? used to could keep the claw spun around!

used to could cut up and still come home to your honeycomb.

you know I slobber when I speak on you: silt-colored, sable-wrung

drool. coal-esque, bottom-of-the-bag black. crude oil of a girl,

want you to know I never stopped slobbering when I spoke on

your jamberry sludge. your magma butter. I’m still mad as a

red plume for your white plum. madder than a dour-faced day

come to twist out all your truthpaste. you know I want it

straight from the kettle. and I can’t nurse no imitation cause I’m

knelt where you need me, milked where you’re knotted. a block

on blocks. head & heart abased how I come to your calves, ready

to swallow your kneecaps whole. so how come it got to be like that?

all that glut sloshing around your goodbodied canteen, and you

can’t share none? not even a dew drop’s due, baby? even if I come

to drain the pot with sot’s resolve and I know it ain’t no treacle?

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Jenna Lyles is a multi-genre writer from Jacksonville, Florida. Currently, she is a McNair Fellow and MFA candidate at the University of Alabama, where she teaches creative writing and serves as an assistant editor for Black Warrior Review.  Her work appears or is set to appear in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, New Haven Review, Juked,Calamus Journal, and elsewhere. Find her at

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