I Keep Thinking I Want to Get Married When What I Mean Is Safety.
Lauren Russell



She didn’t want to go, but we went anyway because I had dreamed of being in love on that field

between rivers, the red & blue dazzling, shattering sky.




                                    Wrung of the ring to get gone, my love

makes houses from library cards.


Turning toward me into morning, for the first time she said—


                        (Shudder. Shut her. Shut her up.)

                                    Shut of the sing to get swung.


The windows don’t buck. Shutters open to a card catalog.


It is not our club. We are not queers who club. The night we met, we watched lube wrestling

awkwardly & left without touching.


Whose batted eyes. Lashes like knives.


                                                              “What if I want to be with you for the rest of my life?”


                                    Strung of the wings to get gunned.


After the fireworks, gunshots. After the gunshots, when girls ran screaming toward us from the next street, I pushed her down beside me, this love of mine, sputtering, who wanted to keep running. After a bus pulled up & we climbed in stumbling, half sobbing, to go somewhere, anywhere, to get out of there, & after we had made it home and seen the news report & tried to watch a movie & stroked & scratched & held each other & bolted upright in the middle of the night



(a difference between grief & mourning:

                                                  grief is feeling, & mourning, how you perform that feeling)



The fear is rattling its techno reap jaws. It raises itself on only one arm,

                                                                                                                                 straddling us—




                                                                                                                                                 the way I love her best.




Lauren Russell’s first full-length book, What’s Hanging on the Hush, is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press. Russell has received fellowships from Cave Canem, VIDA/The Home School, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is Assistant Director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.