by Natasha SajÚ || Author's Links
I demand you return the key
to my Mustang because the thought
of you driving to Arizona
with your warm posterior glued to my
lambswool pushed me over: give it back
I say, meaning everything you'd fished
from me. I'm a grown woman
and I like change but I prefer not to
erode--think rodere (to gnaw), think
rodent (you). In my country frankness
is raised to new heights. Even goats
make the climb in bare feet while raptors
circle overhead. I am happier in the company
of raccoons who wash their hands before they eat.
Imagine the fine hairs of a caterpillar.
When they touch me I am stuck or is it struck,
by the need to know
whether you'd done what you did
out of malevolence or ineptitude.
Though it's too late now for distinctions
between Elmer's and Flicka, between a sand burr
and stockings stolen from a drawer.
Give it back, I say as though speaking into a phone
whose voice answers, press one for Spanish,
press two for Dodo, the language of diplomacy.
You speak the tongue of clams. As for me,
I talk the way a tail invites pursuit: come
here, you viridian-eyed rattler, come here.
Song of the Cook
I chant the pickled alewife, I wallow in surfeit
plums simmering magenta
culled & staining
a backdrop for intrigue
I excise hearts
I let edges be edges--
where would I be without my thin blade?
Somewhere a woman is washing her hands with wine
on her breath, and elsewhere garlic
heads tumble to a pink tiled floor
My fingers are forks, my tongue is a rose
I turn silver spoons into rabbit stew
make quinces my thorny upholstery
O custard apple pudding of applied love
O cider wheedling its sugary tune
how else could the side of beef walk
with the sea urchin roe?
How else could I seize what I see and ride
my bird's eye maple broom
into the night sky's steam?
she squeaks by
pink slip, lazy maid
spoiled hors d'oeuvres
she's a swamp
the body rusts, ovaries
removed like pokeweed
in the family's way
and in it with the law
she's a trifle with whipped cream
& sulfuric custard
but sludge ladies
can bake bricklike cakes
(we're good at breaking eggs)
so let's let trouble
into our hearts like a string of South Sea pearls
and raise her like a statue
over all our small affairs
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