Caitlin Wolper

He Lets You Get Dressed & Then Gives You a Xanax

you’re hurt but he’s crying      calling you
by the avenue              he who hurt
you & you’re touched by
his regret

            a bedroom two blocks away
like a shrimp you curled into yourself
breath broken from brain         the pounding

                        outside: night smattered by starlessness
space unloading its black
            onto your back, shoulders

you knew this feeling, but not fetal
birth in the bedroom    tide of chorus of mountain of no
slapped in the throat
flap of wait
            flap of please
            flap of no
                        stuck                  iamNO-stuck-NOTstuck

your knees gone numb
            by ½ of a ½ of a Xanax
he pushed into your palm         like a prayer
his terror
at your terror    fear
of your fear
he hands you salvation
suck it down    stuff your shoes on

coarse night hacks at eyes          shedding their whites
            skin bag, you slut
to the subway  sulk in tunnel
rats trap broken bottle necks
get trampled by the train­­

thrust into thoughtless tracks
your hands join knees, go numb


outside me, around me

Previously published in Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv by Caitlin Wolper, Finishing Line Press

your stretched narrow your body,
didn’t curl into mine.

                                                            night of the stars. driving to stars
                                                            in the backseat, i watched the back
                                                            of your neck. you & the guys spoke
                                                            outside me, around me, ahead…

                        chocolate your mother
                        bought you/you “bought” me.
                        wine cracked into my lipstick,
                        a second smile.

                                                your sometimes smile
                                                like a punctured balloon.
                                                even narrow arms could’ve held me;
                                                but your muscles, slack.

                                                            boy: long & empty as a whistle



Caitlin Wolper is a Brooklyn-based poet whose first chapbook, Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv, was published in October by Finishing Line Press. Her work has previously appeared in Longleaf Review, Ghost City Review, Hooligan, Yes Poetry, and the Voices Israel Anthology, and she’s been nominated for Sundress Publications’ 2018 Best of the Net anthology. Also a writer, editor, and copy editor, Caitlin has worked for Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and New York Family. She received a BA/MA in English from Penn State.