What it’s like to be a girl.
Cotton balls and cotton swabs and soft cotton underwear and pin curls and
violet toilet water and lipstick the color of your gum and chewing politely
with your mouth closed and keeping your bedroom eyes in the bedroom in a
water glass by the bed by the foot by the drapes your mother drew with her
magic marker making the rounds, making off.
See, first I put on the petty dress. No, I meant pity. No, pretty. First I
put on the pretty dress. Then I twirl around and say, “Look at me! I am so
pretty and petty! Pity me!” And then I say “Fuck this shit!” And then I lift
my skirt. And then you do.
Spin spin spin spin. Run run run run. Nylons don’t if you
clear them first with your nearest acquaintance who paints a transparence
that it is so clearly apparent to anyone who looks (and everyone does) at
your stockinged toes and the alluring ice-cream
dripping down your luscious wrist.
Command & Control
X, primitive in its fondness for cutting
The same action the same
in either language
in either relationship
where to diverge is to flap flap flap flap
because convergence is more acceptable
(a shrinking back, a withdrawal
from banked keys)
A simple act of dis-
ion where the
reappear, some time
In both versions of the rodeo
tips finger keys, make
off with the make-believe work-a-day word
these letters are in order
though in one the announcement
Command, the other, Control
a subtle linguistic
These the blood-blazed sheets,
hands knotted in the hair
the spit-shined backlit clit you suckle
the lapis organza skirt lifted
for you for you
(she says) fertile as a white field, irresistible
as, so plain as to not be
Cut, she shouts
and lights trip the scene sudden
as she fingers the cross and whispers --
Love, it’s never enough.
An Arrangement, An
Iridescence, A Letting Go & Down
The girl in the tutu loves pearl
onions. So shiny and shimmy.
Lit like ice from the inside when cooked and cooled but not as
transparent. Making waves, and even though skin is more
thoroughly like another oval object whose objective is green:
the color of, seed-pearl may be another way of saying, too much:
Too skin, and too frail; too tutu when she swirls. Sit & pant,
tongue-draped and avalanched into a corner, a bolt unspooled.
She is hanging on the tree red and redder still. She twirls, misses
the doing-in and the undoing done. She is branched and round
and waiting for the prince. What fruit doesn’t wait for bite, for juicy
spills like eye-holds & wet heads & in-canned essence.
a private scent. As she twirls and spins and reds and onions
in a slipper-chipper night the king has ordered an
(Which none love’s she, the Q whose A= none of the above.)
There was being and there was non-being. A better-fitting glove.
Cati Porter is the author of two collections
of poetry, small fruit songs and Seven Floors Up. Her poems
& book reviews have recently appeared or are forthcoming from Crab Creek
Review (finalist for the Crab Creek Review poetry competition),
Rattle, Smartish Pace, and Fringe, and
in the anthologies White Ink: Poems on Mothers & Motherhood, Bedside
Guide to No Tell Motel -- Second Floor, and Letters to the World:
Poems from the Women's Poetry LISTSERV. An interview and poetry feature
is forthcoming in the December issue of Umbrella. She is founder &
editor of Poemeleon: A Journal of Poetry.