3 a.m. Conversation with the Lady in the Carousel Music Box by Leigh Anne Hornfeldt

Lately you’ve been admiring her
advantages: two knees
that won’t unbend, black chignon
that doesn’t grey. Her hands
cradle a yellow horse’s reins
like a mug of rose hip tea, her own hips
slender and blameless, eyes
trained forward on everything
that can’t happen next.

It’s a small world, after all, full of left
turns and impossible angles. You envy
her predictable circuit. Her always.
Headlights bounce off the plastic
walls of her home before crawling
to the ionosphere. She doesn’t need
to be careful. She doesn’t need
to keep away from certain lovely mouths,

backseats & bourbons, mornings that come
sooner and sooner and sooner.
You’re chewing the inside
of your mouth, you’re dying to satisfy
the meanness still scraping
inside you. Go on then. Tell her
about compulsion and how you don’t
know why you do the things you do then tell her
the things you do know: floundering heart,
stumbling up stairs, how fucking
at night while drunk is most like being
underwater because you can’t breathe,
because all your instinct knows is to grab
at anyone solid enough to bear you.

Leigh Anne Hornfeldt is a Kentucky native whose work has appeared in journals such as Foundling Review, Lunch Ticket, Spry, and New Southerner. In 2013 her poem “Laika” placed 2nd in the Argos Prize competition (judged by Dorianne Laux), and in 2012 she was the recipient of the Kudzu Prize in Poetry. She is the author of the chapbook East Main Aviary and the editor of Two of Cups Press, where she is currently co-editing Small Batch, an anthology of bourbon related poetry.

Bay Laurel  /  Volume 2, Issue 2  /  Summer 2013