Poison Oak

By Oceana Callum

I did this to you
for your own good.

To remind you what you own:
skin unpocked as a new peach.
I made it swell, rebel
and whipped you reverent.

I sent you to doctors
who admired me.
Who marked
my course with black ink.
Who shot you up
and dripped you down.

For your own good
I did this to you

to remind you how to burn.
You had shut up.
I sent you screaming for help,
hunting for cool clay,
begging hands to pin your arms.

I did this to you
for your own good.
I am not a metaphor.
Watch me erupt
from under your own skin.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 11

Oceana Callum lives in Orange County, California, where she teaches college composition and is doggedly learning to surf. In 2005, she completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry at California State University, Long Beach. She got poison oak for the first timeĀ on an annual camping trip to Big Sur.

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