All Accounts and Mixture: Poetry by Kayla Rae Candrilli


my father, in the business / of construction, ripped open / a million walls, 
gutted them, / pulled the pink insulation / in strips, imagine some meaty / 
intestines or baby back ribs, / something that eats / or can be eaten. 
fiber glass, rock / wool, cellulose cancers / of lung meat blackening. / 
this family has a deep / history of emphysema / &  I’ve wrapped my lips / 
around so many cigarettes / my lungs are barrels of pressure / treated 
sawdust, about to burst / red blackened blood all over / the new tongue 
& groove / walls daddy built. 
& how my lover will squirm / when I cry out between the strikes / falling 
like a house condemned might / bend me over / a sawhorse, daddy
These stories are unrelated / & people keep confusing them. 



Learning to have sex again is vocabulary 
lists and instructional books ordered off
Amazon. Learning the ropes is reading

the way ropes feel when they braid
into skin—burning braille. Vocabulary is mix
and match. Sub-drop. Fire play. Soft limit. 

At seven years old I would stare into mirrors, 
smack myself in the face to decipher 
how hard I hit and how hard I could be hit. 

Collared. Slave. Switch. Safe-word. 
When your safe-word is basic you call 
it what it is. Not fuchsia, not crimson. Red. 

Red swims upstream when I am beaten.
It paints me in lashes—lightning on a horizon
splitting the roll of mountains, of shoulders. 

I never do what I am told unless I am told
what to do. Malleability, I think, is flexibility. 
Open your legs, she says. Turn around, she says.

Learning to have sex again is translation,
tracking the way one thing becomes another.
My skin becomes her skin, torture becomes 

love, her palms become oceans—Pacific, Atlantic. 
I split open and sail on them. Red becomes us. 
We becomes the word spoken before sleep. 



Kayla Rae Candrilli received a Bachelors and Masters in Creative Writing from Penn State University and is a current MFA candidate at the University of Alabama.  Candrilli was awarded first place in Vela Magazine's non-fiction contest, and is published or forthcoming in The Chattahoochee Review, Puerto del Sol, The Boiler, Dogwood, Pacifica Literary, and others.