Pages from What Runs Over, a memoir in verse by Kayleb Rae Candrilli

Kayleb Rae Candrilli is author of What Runs Over, forthcoming with YesYes Books and winner of the 2016 Pamet River Prize. They are published or forthcoming in BOAAT Press, Puerto del Sol, Booth, Vinyl, Muzzle, Cream City Review, and others. Candrilli is a Best of the Net winner and a Pushcart Prize nominated poet. They serve as an assistant poetry editor for BOAAT Press and they hold an MFA and an MLIS from the University of Alabama. Candrilli now lives in Philadelphia with their partner. You can read more of their work here

Pages from What Runs Over, a memoir in verse

I have nothing
in my throat but death
and egg shells—
tonsil rock chitin.
When I cough,
I cough baby robins
that I drowned
in the womb of my mouth,
warm spit, red
wall, dark sea dive—
I don’t know how to tell
lovers that my mouth,
my wet body with teeth,
is an empty nest.

when i killed my first buck / daddy cut / its heart out & it was still /
pumping that black blood all over / it was gore sex /
the way it throbbed / hard in his hand
& i said wow / because i had never seen the inside / of something /
so clearly / i had never made something bleed / quite like that
not until i fucked / the first girl-woman / in the shower / & the first blood /
turned to peppermint / swirl in my palm / & the water ran / it away forever
& i said wow / because i had never made someone / bleed quite like that /
bleed just to bite / a thank you into my ear

the t-ball team blonde boy hits homeruns
and his aluminum baseball bat cracks my baby

          clitoris open
          splits seams
          and i throb out loud
          in my bed           facedown           for the first time
          my violin bow fingers slid and sliding

for the first time i dream bodies naked
six year old automaton dream bumble to spread my lips wide
find my cat-eye marble clit

and i look for blonde boy’s too
search with mud pied fingers
through the layers of him

his clit is red white flame flare
dot of blood

in this dream our bodies are made of mirror
in this dream           he becomes           something woman

planetary the way my partner moves
around me—skirt—elliptical—
they name me mountain
from a distance, drop
dynamite into the cliff hangs
of my shoulder blades, lumbar
fractured out—vertebrae, bone slide.
if we ever align, they sieve. pluck
from the rubble glue
covered rhinestones,
pyrite foolishly golden, ruby
flecks from where my body
caves—rock // cut—
my partner’s rough mining hands
the highway trucking through.

my boy tits
slam against the pulpit and slip off

          to become

the body of Christ
my body of Christ
my body of Christ


I’m lighter now


i’ve decided
my body is evil

and evilly religious
it climaxes in tongues

when my lip                     stick                     is blue

                                                        i look

          in the mirror           &                                         pronounce myself


                                          i necromance myself

                    just to say                       necrophilia
                                                            has never seemed
                                                            so hot

                              dead name me
                                                            baby           i want

          to rip you           limb                     from                     limb