SCRATCHING A SOUND FROM MY THROAT, WAITING FOR THE ROOM TO CLEAR
for Deborah Rib Henry
I make up things my mother never told
me, a lie for each tumor and how pretty
I am when I slip out of line. If my mouth
draws too much attention, I put on a little
more lunacy, heavy on the brow.
I go into the stump of night a continent
to rage uncertain wars, me and my carved
tit, a map I finger with iron gestures,
careful not to reveal the trembling underbelly.
Bad seeds dually noted:
A. never sleeps
B. no left breast
C. front tooth missing
Yesterday I stood in the street a warrior, lifted
my blouse as far as I could take it until a woman
screamed, called me, crazy bitch and covered her
daughters eyes. "I was once a landscape of honey
and nipple," I tell her, "now this flat, desolate soldier boy.
Do you see me? Do you?"
Later, I imagine her pink domes, how on edge
they must rise, avoiding any suggestion of light.
I would taste her blind center if only to wake her.
I'd tell her a suspicious lump cannot be swallowed
down easy, not with a glass of water, not with a side
of broccoli and no matter what shade your lipstick,
the frontiers will not give an inch.
Never mind the cliché, "If these walls could talk,
if these walls had ears." Who would listen?
Today, I am a kiss on the complexion of fierce,
I stream along blood, semen and breath to survive.
Lost inside a freckle, a statistic, one more ordinary woman.