Missing Persons Report II

by Ruth Baumann

Once we were all teenagers, even the teenagers.

This is a time when it’s safe to not be safe, the birthday trees tell us.

Fuck the birthday trees — the man enters my body, unwanted.

Fuck all the birthday trees to hell.

With the excellent marksmanship of the young, whatever I aim at, I hit myself.

I walk towards vodka. Vodka is a province / promise / premise.

Vodka is the beginning of the story the birthday trees tell, their lips stupid, slow-moving.

It is the girl who jumps out that window & says in her quietest indoor voice this man cares about me. (me)

I prefer the rubble. I rub it into my bones.

The rubble is sharp, like a bump of crystal. This is what ruin does for me: it cleans me.

It washes my whole body in distance.

It lets me be fifteen on a single July night as many years as I don’t want to.


About the Author

Ruth Baumann is an MFA student at the University of Memphis, & Poetry Editor of The Pinch. If you want, you can find her publications at https://ruthbaumann.wordpress.com/