You once found this hard
to believe but soon enough
you knew you wanted it
in your mouth. One day
your mother will read this
and you will take a sip
of espresso and think about
how you really should cut
your cuticles. The rest of
the poem goes like this:
the first hot day in May
there’s already sick-sweet
boy funk in the subway
mixed with piss. Come
up the steps into blooms
all over the gum-blotched
sidewalk—it’s ailanthus
you’re smelling, behind
the commons gate. Tree
of heaven, invasive frond,
home to moths that make
a cheaper silk. Slake
is the word you want
under your tongue.
You’re not dreaming of
anything. That’s just what it
smells like—semen, soap.

B. K. Fischer is a poet, critic, editor, and teacher. Her novel-in-verse Mutiny Gallery won the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize from Truman State University Press, and her second collection, St. Rage's Vault, won the 2012 Washington Prize from The Word Works. Her poems have appeared inThe Paris Review, Boston Review, The Hopkins Review, Ekphrasis, Southwest Review, Western Humanities Review, FIELD, Literary Mama, Westchester Magazine, and other journals. In May 2012, she became poetry editor at Boston Review.