Ann Ward


Under the pink cashmere crop top, Natasha

Bubblegum strong, that slice of jaw

She leaves a bra in the sink to soak

Names girls after the jewels in rings

My desire, like cocktail vomit surging

I push it down until my teeth seethe foam

Butter yellow, leaking neon honey foam

The flood behind my eyes: Natasha

Shocked electric current surging

Forgotten fuzz of chin-strapped jaw

Ditching AJ McLean’s lost eyebrow rings

Sour berry gushers, no tongue to soak

The boys leave bruises on my hips, I soak

Unconscious Barbie bubble bath foam

There’s blood on the linen like coffee rings

Our period stains a trail, Natasha

Stayfree Kotex sticky-winged jaw

School trash of tissue liners surging

My body is not my body surging

I take out my teeth like an old set to soak

Against the grate I shoehorn my jaw

Dig potholes into couch mattress foam

We’re not who we thought I am, Natasha

Nameless under stick-on glowing rings

Let’s hunt banana splits and onion rings

We’ll leave our joysticks floorbound, surging

Come to Dairy Queen with me, Natasha

We’ll ride our bikes to sweet fluorescent soak

I’ll wet my thumb to smudge your milkshake foam

Leave greasy ketchup bite marks on your jaw

Under the bunkbed joy leaks from my jaw

Swirled silly string in careless purple rings

Our slumber party plushie pillow foam

Cherry pop and cherries popping surging

Anointed-cleansed by shaken soda’s soak

Say you’ll stay for one more night, Natasha

We talk til jaws and lips ache surging

Nudge tongue rings to their choking soak

I foam for you, for then — for now, Natasha

Ann Ward is a writer, editor and teacher originally from Ontario, Canada. Her poems have appeared in Pinwheel Journal, Peach Mag, No Tokens, Minola Review, Powder Keg and others. You can find more of her work at