WRITE NOW : Hillary Ferguson ( NY BOMB ATTEMPT)

Someone Come Forward and Claim Responsibility


A bomb went off in the City, sent bodies to the street, the blocks

and blocks of buildings orgasming shrapnel. And I didn’t care,

didn’t stop for a moment to think of anything else and you didn’t

look away either.


Once, you read a poem so sincere it was the first time I saw

you—by which I mean really saw you. Your soul stripped bare and

open and you opened me when you read


PPPPPPPPPPAs the sun rises, you look up

PPPPPPPPPPsynonyms for afraid. You find sorry

PPPPPPPPPPand backwards.


And I can’t say how sorry and afraid and backwards I feel.


My husband inescapable, but you became the escape with your

fuck you beauty. Our lips touched and your skin felt like mine and

I learned, finally, what real bliss is. It isn’t clear oceans and white

sands and beach palms but your palm on mine and you are beyond

anything I’ve ever known.


For days we stayed in bed while chaos worked around us. A

manhunt was going on beyond our window and we were dark and

in the dark, speaking an unlanguaged verse. The island of our

bodies a new kind of poetry. We muted news and all I wanted to

know was


your favorite song


your first memory


what kind of cake you had on your fifth birthday


where the touch of my lips would make you breathe faster


Tell me your clichés, I said. And you sang to me. I don’t remember

what song.


On your desk I learned a little but not enough. A Tomas

Tranströmer collection, a dime bag of weed, photos of your sisters

and friends. I am in one of them. A twenty dollar bill you forgot



We are everything and nothing alike. Tell me more, I wanted to

say, but didn’t.


In a military encyclopedia I have, the Department of Defense

defines vulnerability as:


a weakness which allows an attacker to reduce a system’s

information assurance.


the intersection of three elements: a system susceptibility or flaw,

attacker access to the flaw, and attacker capability to exploit the



Our City was/is/will always be vulnerable.


Just tell her how you feel, Laura said. Let yourself be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is not the right word. I can’t let an experience of

individual desire take precedence over a categorical one. There is

no English word for that.


In linguistics, this is called an accidental gap, and maybe that’s

where I’m at. Waiting for something to arrive me. Waiting for you.



Now, I’m miles away and nowhere near. Yesterday the husband

and I had sex and I thought of you: the shape of your mouth when I

made you come. The way your hips rose. The way your

hair—sticky with sweat—clung to your neck and even that wasn’t

enough. He felt rough and dirty and for the first time I hated how

hard he was.


I said go slower.


I said be softer.


Like this? He asked, or this? And slipped his fingers between my



There were no more bombs outside and it was quiet, just the two of

us. I didn’t move as he moved, and limp, not for a second wet or

responsive, said, stop.


And he said I’m sorry said I can’t be a woman


And even he knows I can’t unknow your touch.

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