Stephanie King

Do you lose time?

My thirty sins are filed away in thirty sturdy folios.

1. Truth chafes.

2. I can’t miss work. I’ve washed my hands twice since noon,
and the need to return is returning.

3. etc.

I am an endothermic animal.
My ten, strict claws warm up

before I place a nickel in the slot. I have ten
ways to suffer. The desk is just a drawer away

from watering plants until evening,
trickling my palms under the flashing water.

Counting them is tedious. Choose a pretty tab to pull apart –
the pink one is not sipping, the yellow, deflowered.

Will you self-destruct?

In the wash I found ten pennies.

I’m past it.

Am I self-aware? Am I selfish?

In box 1: check yes.

In box 2: check yes.

In box 3: I’ve done it all.

I’m quite sure the groan is interior.

Even the fibers of my breast knot up.

In box 4: twice daily.

Do you sleep well?

I read a book about hunger.
My mouth was drier then, and tinier
mouths, on the pages, were blisters
cracking into cuts, undoing young faces.

In the streets I stumbled
upon a stake and pulled it,
pulsing, from the rock.
Its pronate body was a passionate plea,
and I put it back with caulk and glue.

This is a mental aroma.
My million nerves are bounced
inside their shells, feeling
the cheese of hands, the afterbirth
of money. I have never given up on sulfur.
Even that stick and those children stink.

Have you lied?

Say you fell: your fracture
a result of a prostitute rock
convincing your pocket a part.
Grass filled your face
like a feedbag. Say you fell.
You left your pocket

hook-and-looped shut,
coins counted and rolled
into denominations.
Precious habitants.
When you fell, say
your hands were stumbled

under your body. You feel ashamed.
Say you do.

Stephanie King’s poetry has appeared in such magazines as The Cimarron Review, The Laurel Review, Pool, Front Porch, and others. She resides in West Virginia with her husband and children.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.