Rochelle Hurt

Can I Call You Shelly?

Call me Shelly with the jellylip. Sad-Sour Shelly

with hog-tied thighs. Shelly with piss on the tip

of her canines. Always coddled a shine for the dirty.

Call me Shelly the Girl at thirty & don’t wake me

from my shake-dreams. Dogged eye trained on Shelly

the Bite Sleeve, your peek-tongue grin bets you’ll call me

Shelly Broke-Legs, Shelly Moan-Pays, Shelly Tuck-Teeth or else

Whistle-Gum, Shelly Licks-a-Lesson-in-Her-Blood. Fist-turn

the dough of me to Shelly the Grateful. Shelly Sockfull

O’ Change, my head full o’ throwaway names. Turn me down

to the stuffing & call me Shelly No-Face.

Your soft Shelly No-Place. Oh-God-Oh-God-Shelly

who eats up God’s grace. On Shelly the Shoulder

you pray. Shelly the Warm Trap where hope lays.

Rochelle Hurt is the author of a novel in poems, The Rusted City (White Pine, 2014). Her work appears in Best New Poets 2013, Crab Orchard Review, Mid-American Review, The Southeast Review, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere. She is a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati.