Thinking of me while inside another woman
must feel like sitting in the new neighbor’s
dining room, saying you preferred
the people who lived there
She blushes from his knuckles.
Her lips become busted
lining her eyes surface as if trying
to tell us something.
She believes all the girls
are jealous of her new necklace;
its chameleon color, how it shifts from purple
to jaundice, appears to be finger-painted on.
She holds loose patches of hair
as if her head were a garden.
His boot sole has flattened whole tufts of grass.
Underneath her shirt is a bouquet
When she counts them,
none dare to mean
“He loves me not.”
A DAMSEL’S GUIDE TO DISTRESS
When your philosophy professor admits what you knew he would,
that God does not exist and he will never leave his wife for you,
remember why you kept the tags inside your prom dress.
The cashier will not question the motel stain on the taffeta,
or the human tooth caught in the tulle.
She will return all seventy-one dollars and sixty-six cents.
Stuff the cash in your underpants like the neighbor’s hands
behind a pool shed in eighth grade, while he hiccupped
and you sucked chlorine from your hair. Tell only the loose
brick you are leaving. Steal a seat on the next train and shave
your legs in its bathroom. The ring of sliding doors
will come to sound like the dinner bell. The purring locomotive:
closest thing to a housecat.
The conductor’s hole-punch: a crocodile at your heel.
When a teenager selling candy heckles
for a dollar, flash him your pinker
nipple. Save the blue M&M’s for later.
When a blonde vomits into her handbag, point
her to the bathroom. Wait, then follow.
Say “tickets please.” Knock twice.
Take the scissors from your knee-highs and hack off
her ponytail. Sew it into a baseball cap if the conductors
begin to recognize you by the half-bitten
freckle peeking from your stockings.
When they banish you from the railroad, like a subway rat,
find the nearest hot dog stand, rearrange roasted chestnuts
in the shape of the Virgin Mary.
Call strangers collect and ask if they can hear
you. If there has been news of a missing girl
or someone finding a miracle in his chestnuts.
Rope your heart onto the train tracks, like the damsel
she is. Wait.
No one will save her.
WHERE MY NUDE PHOTOS LIVE
In a shoebox beneath your bed,
all six creating a diorama burlesque club.
Always available for a nostalgic jerk off.
Shaving themselves from the glossy paper and posing
for your childhood monsters,
while puritan dust bunnies censor my secret parts
from a stuffed bear you no longer sleep with.
Condom wrappers fashion mosaic loincloths
while one of me shimmies into a tube sock,
plugging her ears with your cat’s coughed up hairballs.
Anything as not to hear your new girl come
My brother found my
naked pictures. Each of my
eyes, now a nipple.