Wednesday Feb 28

Petruccelli-Poetry Chris Petruccelli is a recent University of Tennessee graduate who spends his free time exploring dendrochronology and smoking cigarettes with older women. His work has previously been published in Josephine Quarterly.


The Last Night I Was the Person I Thought I Had Always Wanted to Be

In a sense I had become Mara,
wandering the streets of Paris and Amsterdam
narrated in the voice of Benjamin Willard
with the same jungle daze.

In Paris I learned proper ways
to press lips to paper, breathe deeply,
burning all the way down so that the Arc
had its own flare in the absence of light.

Taught how to fuck like a Parisian—
clutch, not coddle,
I remember how the woman said,
être un homme.

By the time I reached Amsterdam
I told prostitutes I was from New York
for important reasons. No one, even whores,
wants to fuck a man from Tennessee.

I tapped a secret
language on a glass door,
my last Euros clenched, suffocating
what life may be in paper money.

I remember the naked honesty of the room.
An empty bed, folded curves
of sheets needing to be familiar,
a light dim enough to hide all the gray.

In that moment,
the trace of acrylic nails felt natural,
the irony of white negligee in this setting.
I paid extra to not take it off myself.