Author Archives: Erin Slaughter

About Erin Slaughter

Erin Slaughter is currently pursuing an MFA at Western Kentucky University, where she teaches undergraduate writing classes. In 2016, she was the winner of the Heartland Review’s Flash Fiction contest, a finalist for Rabbit Catastrophe Press’ Real Good Poem Prize, a Best of the Net nominee and a Pushcart Prize nominee. You can find her writing in River Teeth, Juked, Gravel, and the Bellingham Review, among others. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Elegy for the Body (Slash Pine Press, 2017).

Untitled on Orange Canvas, 2016

images (8)
Are they cars or bricks that stack the overpass
with moonlight? Darkness another kind of wheat-field
gently smoldering. June
is still more humid than you’d like.
At breakfast 49 people are dead
and I am hiding in plain sight.
What a body feels when it is loved
by swirling color should be homecoming,
not drowning. Not breath lost
like it was left in a jeans’ pocket and gone
through the wash. Not oil stains scrubbed out,
the way Diet Coke lifts blood from concrete
so we don’t know we are falling.
My young sister says gay
like it’s a clogged sink and my pulse is running

like a fever. As if queer meant
anything other than light passing
through a closed window. The blinds drawn,
the sun wide open. Part of me is still
in that parked car at fourteen
and knows nothing of forgiveness. The driveway
where he screamed the prefix on my lips
into hiding. At lunch the news says
ringing phones rose up from the bodies like summer,
like lonely sirens. Bills still cost money
and the world is still burning and I am still
in that parked car. The pets that went missing before
are still missing. I am trying Continue reading

Three Poems -Erin Slaughter

Photo by Ginny Stanford

Photo by Ginny Stanford

New Gospel

This isn’t a place you can get to on purpose,
even on accident. You’ve got to pluck violet starlight
from the ceilings of caves and swallow
without using your tongue. You’ve got to swim ecstatic 
underworlds beneath the out-of-service gondola 
from your childhood VHS tape Disney princess fantasies. 
Answer: Be the prince. Be the mirror. Be the hostage.

Be the beast. You didn’t ask for this.
It just came, a flood, like the melody 
of soapy bathwater. Like the song you won’t listen to, even in your head, 
because it is the only thing you miss about those forests. 
Do you remember? How the deer were not frightened 
of the tour bus, as if they knew
something we didn’t. I am brave enough now to admit

that I am talking to myself. The sensation 
of swallowing a pill dry: another thing I didn’t understand
meant emptiness. I slept backwards on my mattress 
to be closer to the wind and saying hello to the pavement, really meaning it,
was the closest thing to intimacy.

This is not a place you get to without the fear
of bruises while wearing bruises. Chase them with 
moonshine from a can. Drape them across your thighs
like a floral gown. Black out a little
when convenient. Continue reading