Not crying, not cursing, not the cackle 

of the porcelain plate thrown against 

the bedroom door can hound me from 

my home. 

Only silence, its trembling 

barrel trained at the small of my back. 

Silence my captor, quick in a ski mask. 

Silence my bailiff, my warden, escorting 

me—my father’s road bike rusting beneath 

my feet, the Stones in my ears—

to the lake

where I trudge a rough scar in the sand. 

I am fourteen. I am honeysuckle foaming 

at the teeth of an electric fence: quick 

to anger, flashing white, my hunger vining 

up and up and up and up and up and up 

my throat—

I am Cupid’s error. I am deeply

alone. I know that the larder I’ve fed from 

is ugly. I know my parents are choked 

and close, like the months of a wildfire year. 

They are contused by love. 

Love: I know

I can outstarve it. When I get home, 

I slide back into the knife block of silence.

Nick Martino is a 2022 Best New Poets and Best of the Net nominee with work published or forthcoming from Washington Square Review, Southeast Review, Frontier Poetry, Fugue, Meridian, and Sugar House Review, among others. The poetry editor of Faultline Journal, he lives in LA.