<i><b>Wicked Alice Poetry Journal
wicked alice| spring 2008

Amy L Sargent


Office Hour I
I think about removing
my panties, thumbs crawl
under pleated wool skirt,
hook the soft, scalloped elastic
orbiting my softer hips.
I'd place them in a crumple
on my desk blotter,
wait for you to notice.
You'd follow my hands,
my thoughts—
you would already know,
Like you know the writing
on the milky inside of my arm
is a Whitman quote,
you'd know the dampness
of those panties
between us, know my size.
You would stand, and
you'd know of nautical stars
placed on the underside
of my pale thighs—
how they intend
(as if you were a ship)
to lead you home.

Pittsburgh Women Are Divisible by Three
Only in house coats
& housedresses, she ventures
out of her house.  She
knows one has pearled snaps,
one does not.  Both, however,
are transformed by the addition
of a pilled cardigan sweater
& a pair of street shoes.
Suddenly, no one can tell
she's wearing nightgowns
to the bus stop or grocery store.
Women I arbitrarily like
and admire.
She wears a belly shirt,
believes it is meant to display
her soft, prominent abdomen.
Her children are sticky
mouths, loud faces, ponytails
that need tightening.

I'd picture me, next to a water pump,
rim clinks teeth as I drink well
water from a dented, tin cup,
tethered to a pail with frayed twine.
My skirt lifts like a sail, faded
calico pulls on legs—clothing as kite.
Feet bare, stained with cut grass
and fresh dirt, calloused to bees
and small rocks—the same rocks
worked to the surface of my tomato
bed every spring, no matter the number
picked free, afternoons on knees
removed the fall before.
This taste of new growth, of pine-needle
mulch and fresh seed, you wouldn't have
to ask if I could start like this, with a sip.

 Amy L Sargent's work  is forthcoming in the Dos Passos Review, and has been recently published in The Pinch and The Dalhousie Review, among others.