Ryan Van Winkle



I licked her down
and decided it was good

her damp stockings
three runs up the side

one for each meal
it made me hungry

dawn a sharp yellow tooth
creeping up the drain-pipe

my shoes tongue-less
and tied by the bed

rice sticking to rice
on the stove, by tomorrow

we’ll both be walking the street
lights coming at us, speeding away


She breaks mirrors
at night and works
the shards into her feet
picks up her fiddle
and plays it loud
her mirrors tapping time

you lay on the floor
and look into them –
see all your own eyes
coming back at you
half a dozen times.

Your lack of surprise
dazzles you as she wakes
the neighbours with her slow
Clair de Lune yellow and alive, blood

dripping past your eyes
you begin to feel
like a piece of wheat
standing up straight –
like other living things –

a tractor coming towards you
at 500 stalks a second
but still, for the moment,
quite a ways away.
RYAN VAN WINKLE is a poet, performer, podcaster and critic living in Edinburgh. His first collection, Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, was published by Salt in 2010 and his poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, AGNI, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Daily and Prairie Schooner. He is a regular contributor to the Prairie Schooner blog and was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship in 2012. He is also the host and co-producer of the arts podcast The Multi-Coloured Culture Laser and the poetry podcast for the Scottish Poetry Library. He is also the Poet in Residence at Edinburgh City Libraries. Find his website here

Read more by Ryan Van Winkle:

Another poem in B O D Y
A Friday Pick in B O D Y on Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be?
Poem at Poetry Daily
3 poems at 3am magazine
Poem in The Istanbul Review