To Be Honest

by Lisa Fay Coutley

I would rather say I have dementia
than depression, so I could still claim

center stage—blinded by an accent
light. If I bite the pink whistle yet

never blow, it’s my fault. Right? I know
you know my grown sons know

they were not planned. Every event
that’s saved my life has nearly killed me.

Honesta, in Latin, is a feminine noun
used rarely for Lady. When I drink

my iced mocha & type on my Mac
Book, I don’t contemplate godliness

or the twelve-year-old girl whose gods
cannot stop the bleeding or the man lying

in prayer before & after he enters her
ruined temple (as his God wants), hoping

her stench will subside. I’m so afraid
that what has infected the world has

no smell & leaves no trace or it does
but all I can think to say is that I do

not want this dress anymore, though
I can’t bear to let you wear it either.

LISA FAY COUTLEY is the author of Errata (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award, and In the Carnival of Breathing (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition. Her writing has been awarded a fellowship from the NEA and has appeared recently in Crab Orchard ReviewPrairie SchoonerKenyon ReviewGulf Coast, and Poets & Writers. She is an Assistant Professor of Poetry in the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.