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.
THIS GUY TRIED ROBBING MY HOUSElisten 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.
I AM SIX AND MY MOTHER MAKES VELVEETAlisten 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.