Listen:

This is the sound of drunkenness held
+++++on the last twilit gunshot. The sound
++++++++++of your voice carrying from the flat lawn
+++++and up past the sleeping baby, past
++++++++++the boys whose ears have tuned
++++++++++to this semblance of fury.

+++++Tonight, Texas folds itself down
+++++into the hollow of your throat and nestles there
++++++++++++++++its whisky, its raw, hot breath baited
++++++++++++++++++++++toward the edge of our union.

This is the sound of my standing
+++++at a road’s crossing. This is the sound
++++++++++of a car tire wailing over and beyond
++++++++++a tornado’s berth.

+++++See me point two fingers in every direction.
++++++++++To the south of us, a mirrored bottle’s emptied
++++++++++++++++mouth. The north,
++++++++++an eagle of wanting. I wonder

who gave me this urgency. Who told me
+++++to pick through your heart, as if your heart
++++++++++was a sieve for my choosing. Where to go east
++++++++++++++++is to be singular and afraid of my uncoupled side,
+++++and where to go west is to turn myself inward
++++++++++to the fierceness of you, your eye’s

+++++cold spurn. Is to sit with my aunts
++++++++++at a table made from a cask’s aged jaw and watch
+++++their husbands spit arrows
++++++++++into an echo’s turbulence. I know

I would never cast myself into a pool of tongues, yet
+++++I am facing you or the creature of you
++++++++++built up in its fever and I am both fear
+++++and reflection, I am the sound
++++++++++of your freeness bathing in your southern
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++country,

++++++++++standing on the brink of a desire. I am
+++++shying away from the sting of a bitter turn,
the dark of our difference circling us in caustic balance,
++++++++++in a ruinous noise.

Clare PanicciaBorn and raised in upstate New York, Clare Paniccia is currently a PhD student in poetry at Oklahoma State University. In 2015, she was a finalist for both the Janet McCabe and Slippery Elm poetry prizes. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming in The Pinch, Superstition Review, Puerto del Sol, Radar Poetry, Best New Poets 2015, and elsewhere.