M.K. Foster

M.K. Foster's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, The Adroit Journal, Sixth Finch, Rattle, B O D Y, Word Riot, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the University of Maryland and currently pursues a PhD in Early Modern/Renaissance Literature at the University of Alabama, where her hybrid interests include trauma, performance theory, and the body. For additional links to and notes about her work, please visit https://marykatherinefoster.com.

If You Were On Fire, I Would Sing Happy Birthday

Late autumn, November-the-somethingth, how you’re supposed
to know what to do when someone says, play dead—but you don’t,

you asked for a story, but were given a body failing another

and failing at it. In my dreams, I dress you as a bird and shoot you
as soon as I free you. I want to bury you, try to bury you. I walk away.

And then, I wake up. Every time. Most of my dreams are irrational:

my teeth turn to gravel and fall out in handfuls, I run without looking
wherever I’m supposed to be going, someone tries to kill me with a steak

knife or hit me with a Honda Civic, I die holding holly berries
and come back as St. Francis. Most of my decisions have been wrong.

Or made of iron. I go to work and come home at the end of the day.

I turn off all the lights. I hold my hands between my knees, then my head
in my hands. If you were made of glass: I would know how to hurt you

without looking, even if it counted for nothing—something, at least,
inevitable: how time will never end as long as there is light, how light will

never stop fucking light to make more light. Bad planning, those dreams,
how I never planned on planning to, and then to, leave you where you fell.