By Alyse Bensel

She had to give his phone
to her best friend, who found
not tit pics or even a smiling ex
but a photo of the possum
on my porch, night’s blank
slate behind it, eyeing cat food
left out for neighborhood strays.
I knew it was already roadkill.
I had found it in the road days
before. Loss is what she kept,
meaning inscribed onto
whatever he left behind.
That goddamned possum
he thought worth saving,
that and the steer skull
stowed away for safekeeping
as part of her Christmas present.
She told me to keep any bones
I found, so she could hang them
on the wall to keep the skull
company, a forest and a field
without noise, the scavengers
having already left to continue
searching for what would
fill their insatiable desires.



By Alyse Bensel

See: Sky

See: The seams where I tore apart, mended in rivers

See: A thing never quite still, living off tension

See: An orb weaver the size of a robin’s egg, coiled in the center of her web

See: Let’s—

See: How a bruise pools to shadow

See: Proof of minor resurrection

See: This account has been deactivated

See: Crushed tile

See: Another woman’s freckles

See: Reflection

See: Up to his knees in a muddy stream

See: No translation

See: The names I’ll never hear

See: Anvil

See: This account no longer exists

See: Small new hands

See: Reactivate. Reactivate. Reactivate.

Alyse Bensel’s poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Quarterly West, New South, Bone Bouquet, and elsewhere. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks Not of Their Own Making (dancing girl press) and Shift (Plan B Press) and serves as the Book Reviews Editor at The Los Angeles Review. A PhD candidate in creative writing at the University of Kansas, she lives in Lawrence.