Poetry-Brianne Manning

SE 14th Avenue Evenings
   -for Viva

Brianne Manning

Our seventeen-year-old phantoms remember the nights  

your eyes turned to razorblades that sliced  

moral blemishes into our hides and butchered  

innocence we believed you capable of while siphoning

Four Loko into your jaded veins.   


Your mother kept a leather-bound collection

of her religious machinations, 

and you stole it to read to us late at night

as you danced in the velvet of the underground  

and to Nico's hollow voice. 


You asked if you were beautiful.  


What did we learn from prying?  

From your birth, your mother wanted  

you to be her little girl. Your family sat  

in practiced silence as you struggled


with who you were and who She raised  

you to be—a boy without  

a boy's or girl's soul. Maybe

no absolute soul at all.

But we still remember the nights  

you were beautiful.