Menses and other poems

Menses and other poems

You smell like you’ve been shot 
down the barrel of a gun
an outlaw slipping off your horse
hauling a mix of rain and sunset 
in time to answer prayers
and save me—
the little lady, from myself
or what the law allows.

No life or godless cells cluster 
in your wake 
as you set fire to my velvet curtains 
and cut out with a cache of rubies 
like plucked hearts 
so I never suspect 
a homemaker
in a killer disguise
who cleans and warms the place. 

My Half of Night

I listen to crickets saw night
like a lock on a box of secrets

on my right, books spread out in bed
their corners curling 

I want to call you 
discover where your toes point now

a blue notebook touts five subjects
in place of your head tossing on the pillow

I asked what you were thinking once
feeling your heart slow to a circling hawk

you’ll never get inside my head you said

there’s some poetry, self-help
feathered light and solid colors
a dictionary from 1971
reminds me of pedantic 

the meaning I learned 
back at your bedsit a few hours after we met

a squiggle of tobacco on your bottom lip
hard cider on my breath

Old Friend from Far Away is open
prompting me to write about nuts

oil from my hands leaves permanent shadows on pages
not like your body with my cuts on bone

wherever you are
your half of night is sawn by jagged breathing

if you sleep on your good ear we’ll hear 
nothing when the lock breaks. 

Sewn in Need

The lingerie sale is a karmic wink.
What goes around comes around 
the rack of sheer, bright skins
with ribbons and bows like atrophied limbs 
catching my fingers in its web of 
coarse sex. 

He wants a surprise—
one size fits all
dyed the color of cartoon cherry blood
slit up the belly
and sewn by 
a woman with needs.

I toss her on my bed
her long black braid licks 
her curved back
her skin shines with sweat.
I whisper in the hollow of her ear
“My body used to be enough.
Once we made love three times on the way to the toilet.”
“Ahhh,” she says, splitting the symmetry of her mouth.
“Four if you count on the toilet,” I add.

Then the clicking starts
from her dislocated thumb shifting 
in out in out in out in out in 
as she strips me
scratches and bites my breasts
to make them ache and swell
spits on my chest 
to glisten depth
picks blood and rust from under her nails
rubs them into my cheeks and belly 
to look flushed
wipes her oily brow inside my thighs 
for a sticky glow
snaps her thick braid with teeth like lightning
wraps it high round my hips.
The remaining inches hang like a tail
she packs in the crack of my ass
and up between my legs
covering my pubic hairs
with a fan of split ends. 

The clicking stops
I pull the blanket up to my chin
pretend to sleep. 
Both of us worn out from his surprise.

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