Playlist For a Striptease by Kendra DeColo

Sometimes while driving,
the windshield smeared

with late afternoon light,
I remember my body,

how it shook involuntarily
the way rain convulses

above a parking lot
whenever I was touched.

My sister chooses
songs, not for their rhythm

but emotion, hands palming
asterisks to her back,

dancing as if underwater
to music that makes

men feel less finite as they
watch her translate words

into gesture, legs lacquered
under black lights, mimicking

opiate and bruised mouths.
There isn’t a place I’ve slept

without carving her initials,
sometimes confusing

the syllables of our name.
What I mean to say is

every wreckage keeps something
of the body, particles boosted

from a dream, the white hatchback
in another city guarding gristle

of my twenty-year old skin,
plastered and begging

for a black out, to be anonymous
as a body numinous

and drenched in blue light,
dancing slow enough

to dissolve, to become
beautiful again.


Kendra DeColo is the author of Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia Books, 2014), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She has received fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.