Last Sext: An Excerpt

Melissa Broder



Can you feel it?

You are art and you are not art

Yesterday I thought it was good to be dead

I babbled, a wildwoman boiling your pelt

I wore you as my t-shirt and mouth

I said it was good for you to be art

Save me from death, let me rise from the dead

Today I bury your body



I came into the world a young man

Then I broke me off

Still the sea and clouds are pegasus colors

My heart is pegasus colors but to get there I must go back

Back to the time before I was a woman

Before I broke me off to make a flattened lap

And placed therein a young man

Where I myself could have dangled

And how I begged him enter there

My broken young man parts

And how I let the mystery collapse

With rugged young man puncture

And how I begged him turn me pegasus colors

And please to put a sunset there

And gone forever was my feeling snake

And its place dark letters

And me the softest of all

And me so skinless I could no longer be naked

And me I had to debanshee

And me I dressed myself

I made a poison suit

I darned it out of myths

Some of the myths were beautiful

Some turned ugly in the making

The myth of the slender girl

The myth of the fat one

The myth of rescue

The myth of young men

The myth of the hair in their eyes

The myth of how beauty would save them

The myth of me and who I must become

The myth of what I am not

And the horses who are no myth

How they do not need to turn pegasus

They are winged in their unmyth

They holy up the ground

I must holy up the ground

I sanctify the ground and say fuck it

I say fuck it in a way that does not invite death

I say fuck it and fall down no new holes

And I ride an unwinged horse

And I unbecome myself

And I strip my poison suit

And wear my crown of fuck its



I went under my skin

Which was my old skin

And under the skin of my soul

Which was an old soul

Though new to me

There was so much silence

I was surprised to like it

I saw that all my wounds were only dust

And when I turned to dust they would be vanished

And saw that I would have to be the mother

I have to be the tit and friend and child

And stroke my hairs and say peace

The hairs on my head and the hairs on my soul

They are bulbing in the rain

They look like crops and I am scared of them

Because one day they will be dust

And silence knows they will be dust

But what will become of silence

When everything else dusts

I have to know the silence will hold on to me

Know it not by head or by reflection

But touch it in the emptiness beneath my dust

Already returning me to light



Melissa Broder is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Last Sext. She is also the author of the essay collection So Sad Today. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, the Iowa Review, Tin House, Guernica, Fence, the Missouri Review, and the Awl among others. Broder holds a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from City College of New York. She lives in Venice, California.