Maggie Nelson lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her collections include Shiner (Hanging Loose Press, 2001) and The Latest Winter (Hanging Loose, 2003). About the poem, she says: "The fight was terrible, but it was gratifying the morning after to try to articulate something of the mess of the 'fuck you' moment after it had passed. Clearly 'fuck' is a rich word and I wish it the best of luck in its future, in poetry and otherwise."






After a Fight


Fuck you too, my less compassionate self
says quietly. You've never really

respected me anyway, especially not now
that I refuse to be the keeper

of your anger, the messy pall
of it, from where we kill

what we can't suck. Still
I have faith in the healthy ink

of ideograms, the little cone of flame
nudged about by the wind.

My pillow book would list
such beautiful things, your heart

would die to read them.




from Shiner (2002) by Maggie Nelson, by permission of Hanging Loose Press.