Our Backyard

after Michael McGriff


I keep thinking of those deer hip bones

the grey and the lightning bolt between them

I’m sorry for stealing this image, Michael

but it made me want to be beaten in a shed out back

made my head want to be a ram’s skull

two horns protruding out of me

so everyone could see my pain.


What I’m trying to say is

it would be better if I was naked and bruised

if something so bad had happened to me

that I deserved a hug

that I deserved some warm milk from a mammal.


When my lover doesn’t want me

when she rejects touching me,

I miss my father’s jeans

how he would let me rub my dirty hands on the pant leg

the same way my grandfather let me do with his khakis—

the men in my family affectionate.


And here, I married a woman

like my mother

her coldness like deer bones.

Wet wood. Empty shed.


Lauren Banks is originally from Alabama and recently graduated with her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She now lives in the greater Boston area.