Two Poems by Sophie Bernik

silhouette in prison window
Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash


I’d like to die
happy and young—by a gun or some other
form of universal truth. I don’t send in mail
to serial killers because I’m not that sort
of woman, I only think about it. I have sex
on the hardwood floor and get a splinter
in my ass—he pulls it out for me tenderly
but then doesn’t call the next day. I wonder
if this is an execution-able offense. I stand
on a picket line in the rain until my shoes
are soaked through, unsure of which side
I am on. This is wrong. I’m told
it’s wrong. I know it’s wrong. I feel
bad, if that’s any sort of consolation. On Sundays
I go to the prison and watch all the bad men roam
through the yard like cattle. If I’m feeling lucky
I’ll flash them. If they’re feeling lucky they’ll
make it known. Just like my father and their
fathers and our fathers before them. Like the fun
is ever in anything known. Like it’s that simple.
He finally calls as I’m in my bath, once again
entertaining the idea of suicide by toaster but failing
to commit. He asks me Is that really who you are
and I say yes. I scream it. Over and over and
over again.


Sunday Love

Eating Italian takeout and learning Japanese
bondage on your living room floor—I’m not sure
we’ll ever travel. The afternoon sunlight turns
everything to whisky. Is this what it’s meant
to feel like? A tightening? Rope marks meant
to mimic fingers on my neck.

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