Stacey Waite, a 1999 graduate of Bucknell, received an MFA in poetry in 2002 and a PhD in Composition and Pedagogy in 2011 from the University of Pittsburgh. Waite is currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nebraska and has published three collections of poems: Choke (winner of the 2004 Frank O'Hara Prize), Love Poem to Androgyny (winner of the 2006 Main Street Rag Chapbook Competition), and the lake has no saint (winner of the 2008 Snowbound Prize from Tupelo Press). Waite's poems have been published most recently in The Cream City Review, Interim, and Black Warrior Review. Waite's first full-length collection, Butch Geography, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2012. Waite's other honors include an Andrew Mellon Dissertation Fellowship Award, the Elizabeth Baranger Excellence in Teaching Award, two Pushcart Prize nominations, and a National Society of Arts & Letters Poetry Prize. Waite has also published essays on the teaching of writing in Writing on the Edge, Reader and Feminist Teacher.
This reading is co-sponsored with the Writing Center.
When he first grabs me, I'm leaving the women's room.
His knuckles are locked like fat bolts beneath my chin.
My pulse buzzes beneath skin like an old radiator.
My breasts want to sink into my sweat-covered chest,
to become hollow burrows like the ones small animals
dig into soft enough, wet enough landscape.
And when he loosens his grip, my head is the roof
of a burning house. A woman turns her gas cap. It clicks.
This is how we know when we've gone far enough.
Of course, there is never anything else to do but leave.
My car, a burglarized residence. I turn the mirrors
face up. I have no wish to see myself, traveling or not.
These days I fuel up before leaving. I piss on the shoulders
of highways, even on the cold and black nights when urine
spreads out around my shoes like a high tide around rocks.
The warm steam rising as if it were fog off the river bank,
the yellow haze of it is sucked in by the yellow moon.
Sometimes, I can smell it in the floor mats all the way home.
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