8.07 / July 2013

Three Poems


for Carrie D.
listen to this poem

I have a knack for attracting the most villainous
and brutal men in town and turning them into angel
food cake. It’s an art.

I run into them at the post office; they’re off sending
their mothers and grandmas letters saying hey ma,
I’m outta jail, I’m a free man!

Catching them at their weakest, most susceptible state
of mind, we make gruff love, and they latch
on the way a dress does to your body in summer heat;

the sweat makes me feel all woman. These men, they don’t
even know how to make a pot of coffee; I show
them and they feel like God.

Suddenly, they’re making me eggs and saying
they want three kids, a boy named Huck Jr. especially;
they’re robbing 7-11s and holding guns up to women’s

temples in my name. They bring me Chanel purses
that still have packs of gum and wallet-sized photographs
of cleaned up little kids inside of them.

It starts to feel strange, carrying around another woman’s
belongings. That’s when they say, don’t you like
the nice shit I get you? Huh? That’s the thanks I get?

These are not the men I kissed. I can’t taste anything
anymore but metal. If I felt like being their salvation, I
would have chained my wrists to the porcelain tub

in the first place. I’m not. I’m just a girl who likes
to flirt with a psychopath swallowing her whole.


listen to this poem

But ended up with my tongue in his mouth.
I caught him with my mother’s necklace

and lasagna left-overs. My mom will kill me
if I lose this,
I grabbed the chain from his gloved

fingers, and why would you leave
a girl hungry like that?

We stood in the middle of the living room;
a late daylight left our silence glistening

and orange peeled. He slowly set the cold
tupperware on the carpet and looked at me

with hair I could slowly run my fingers through
if I wanted. He put both his hands in the air

like a criminal on the scene, and began backing
away. Stay, I commanded.

All of my pores opened like
a thousand longing mail boxes in rural
Texas. Not a lover-letter in sight.

I kissed him hard and he tasted like rust.


listen to this poem

My mother didn’t know how to make Velveeta;
she didn’t believe that all you had to do was boil
the shells for seven minutes and then milk
cheese from a silver packet into the pot.
Instead, she shuffled in carrots like a deck of cards,
braided asparagus, and in the end, she used real cheeses:
Gruyere, Swiss, Havarti. I was her American daughter,
I said I liked the violent marriage of ball to bat, the clink it made,
I had blue jeans that were smeared with mud; I said I fell, I said
my accent was hardly noticeable now and that I was at the top
of the class; I knew how to spell paleontologist.
I didn’t want her Velveeta. I wanted to taste the anti-cheese,
I wanted her to slap me and say: liar.

Gina Vaynshteyn's poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in Bop Dead City, The California Journal of Women Writers, Treehouse, and Milk Sugar. She also writes poetry reviews for The Rumpus and is an associate editor for Poetry International. You can follow her on Twitter @ginainterrupted.
8.07 / July 2013