Three Poems
by Emma Aylor

Mistakes of the Last Month

I bought wine when I wanted to leave. I said yes
or I said no. Overate, went to bed

early. Let my perfume get hot in the trunk. Lent a pen.
Didn’t finish and finished too fast. I forgot

sunscreen and planted flour specks over brown
spots. Burst a blood vessel in the pad of my thumb,

rushing the words. I misspelled something and forgot
what it was. I read storytellers ride

the buses as the bruises, saw untitled
as untilted, and let myself believe that such mistakes

could endear me to some kind of truth.


Three-Hour Drive

When we headed home it topped at 104.
You said glass-walled furnace and we didn’t laugh
but breathed hot. I fell asleep three times.
Every time I jolted up I’d feel the seatbelt under my jaw
and right then be your light ponytail; the flied cow;
the sign in the cornfield—farm market—held up
by a rope; the hopeful angle of the satellite dish’s throat.




You seethed, old mothballs steaming from the cracks
of my great-aunt’s green trunk, but with less

reason. We clatter-echoed big but clamshell empty
down the stairwell. I hoped no one

could hear; it’s how I’ve spent all this time, to now. It was curls
of rubber beside the bypass stretched like beaching whales.

What you yelled at was oil on the surface, noncombinant
with my body. What you heard was some of me, heterogeneous.


Emma Aylor is the 2012 recipient of both the Goronwy Owen and Academy of American Poets prizes at the College of William & Mary, editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Bullet Quarterly, and writing editor and staff writer for the online art and literature magazine The Juvenilia. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Used Furniture Review, Birdfeast, Vinyl, Handsome, and elsewhere. Visit her at