"Dear Doctor," and "Marilyn Monroe Looks Back"

Dear Doctor,

                                    kill my dermis cut
my bony tarsals
             push the ether in my vein
                                                to the tissue on top
of muscle the hatchet
            slash into the arc of areola
bloody hurricane to surgical
            light     psalm for this scalpel
gutting from cutis
nerve from fascia
            rough me      with retractors
 spoon me        you strike the dome
                                                to the marrow              mangle it
the face of insecurity not far at all
            not far 
             spread and stitch evenly   
smooth as marble      beloved     abrasions



Marilyn Monroe Looks Back

Look at me, little Marilyn twirling until I become more like Shirley Temple. My first foster mother watching, catching the breeze, loving me, wanting to adopt, but my birth mother burns the idea. Look at little me, crying as I have to leave my home, where my foster mother gave me the world, the atmosphere and the stars in it, told me I could be one of them, a prodigy of dreams. Look at me, teenage Marilyn, strutting down the hallway of my fourth foster home, glaring with the pain of my birth mother ‘s mental episodes, like something wicked swarmed inside of her. Look at me, letting the ink dry with 20th Century Fox, with bright red lipstick and curvaceous hips while in a rocky marriage. Now look, a pressured-celeb, lying about my parents being deceased, painting a bluer upbringing. Masking suicidal impulses, using movies, magazines, and drugs. Look at me, facing my birth mother in a ward. Mother, prayer is all I need, not medicine, before I slip her a flask, watching her drift into the universe of her drug-abused body, before, right behind, I follow her, Hollywood’s blackened star.



Oak Morse

Oak Morse lives in Houston, Texas, where he teaches creative writing and theatre and leads a youth poetry troop, the Phoenix Fire-Spitters. He was the winner of the 2017 Magpie Award for Poetry in Pulp Literature, a Finalist for the 2023 Honeybee Poetry Award and a Semi-Finalist for the 2020 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. A Warren Wilson MFA graduate, Oak has received Pushcart Prize nominations, fellowships from Brooklyn Poets, Twelve Literary Arts, Cave Canem’s Starshine and Clay as well as a Stars in the Classroom honor from the Houston Texans. His work appears in Black Warrior Review, Obsidian, Tupelo, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Nimrod, Terrain.org, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, among others. www.oakmorse.com


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, November 27, 2023 - 21:02