Big Dick, Small Town
I Love You, Now Show Me Your Tits
And just like that, the house of whores—
If Sunday was a man, he’d be good,
becomes the scourge of wooden hours—
some digital acquaintance, a high,
friend, superior, colleague, or mentor
ruefully horny, delusional on their own back roads
something to explain away uncurbed behavior
a warning shot
before the show can begin
texting me at dawn just as I began
grind the grind down
my morning tango to the coffee smell.
until you’re trapped,
He doesn’t want to deny it anymore.
He says he has a real thing for me
two people sitting alone in a park
waiting for some music
You know—big dick/small town
Show me your tits?
open air, no echo
no one to help hear
words meant to
only the birds and worms know—
First, I think it’s funny.
a moment to scorch the bog
and spray others with his failed years’ mud.
He doesn’t think I’m human! He thinks
he’s texting a food order.
It was a cheap shot with the breeze.
But, I believe him when he says he’s a painter
and doesn’t understand words as much as images.
Keep it, lose your shame
to someone who refreshes your life
with new laughter and children, someone
to walk in and need you
after you’ve worried the charcoal bare—
I tuck the phone in my bathrobe pocket
that is bunched together by my elbows
we are not comfortable enough
to brandish ourselves like beer stalls
to burden the mosquitoes—
I’m hoping he gets distracted,
clean clothes for another day.
But, the high is strong,
and he has miles to go, so he calls.
annoying in their attempts
to chip away at the ocean.
He’s talking fast, saying fast things,
as if I Love You was speeding in the car next to him
racing to connect him with his best moments—
Instead, give us both water,
a pause before we speak,
a brief tilt before life’s diorama nosedives
some care for the days ahead
in this violent baptism of grass
until music forgives us
and falls headlong down this hillside.
Never nasty, good/bad girl,
measured almonds, bird-like, never
sage, skirt, four-eyed omens,
unwed birthing house, duvet, never
divan, dinner companion, never captive
wildcat in-waiting, never nails slightly over,
never rose, Rosé, epistolary illusion,
never choke, never ice, never cackle, never red,
never the grey sweat-suited grunt,
never cucumber-eyed monsters, tappa tappa
flamingo pink crinoline, never
inspirational quotes, never a bet, Bettie, never
pickle in jar joke, never never muse,
never a reservoir for your ribbed pleasure,
never who’d you rather, never off-the-shoulder,
never carried, never serendipitous, never
party girl, never shrew, never teacher, never
your age, never yoga pants, never slut, never
fruit cup, never walk of shame, cheerleader, nymph
in the reeds, on a rock, on a boat,
in the air, on a broom, inhabiting a cat, witchy
woman, evil/woman, bad girls will always be
bad girls, uptown/downtown girl, girl with the curl,
never on the rag, PMS, track her chart,
eligible, not eligible, calculating, never conniving, never
Spanx, never sacrifice, never baby, never war/bride,
magical kitchen, whirring toasters,
quiet passion, bright star, never
color block/suit monster, never first wife,
never breeder, spinster, barren,
user, never friendship, never gold-digger,
never my mother/used to make it like,
sharp-tongued, corseted, brainy, cat
claws on chain link fence, never lipstick
on the mirror goodbye, never locked
-in, never she’s good but, she
didn’t do it herself, never the bass player,
singer, band girl, never
bad girl, never say lady without first saying
lord, never a rattle, panties-in-a-wad,
a quilled pen reached for
without looking, never shoulder pads, never
a horse, pig, bruiser, whale, compliment,
ornament, trouble-maker, man-taker, home-breaker, never
pantomime horse, the fatale floating/frond up,
The membrane oozes
a predictable litany,
first that bobblehead myth
knocking the small walls
opens the book again—
the longest revolution.
It’s still in your mind,
icing the edges,
pressing the crevices—
tear out the pages,
kick out the ladder
I brush the soot from Aurora Leigh’s feet,
and chant as the women before me
scatter in a puff of earth—
I pull the rest of them up: Faltonia,
Helen of Egypt, Seward’s dead cat, little Annie Allen,
those womanly Argonauts, Odysseans, writers of epic—
each one floating up
the old bone ladder.
I straddle this maritime wormhole,
surfaced junkyard window
to the lost. I pull up their names
to untether aquanauts from their ledgers,
priestesses and not their scribes, burn their seals
and scream the sky’s brutality, scream
their own true visions
a trackless coven.
Laura Minor won the 2020 John Ciardi Poetry Prize. Her critically acclaimed debut book of poems, Flowers as Mind Control, is on University of Arkansas Press, 2022. She won the 2019 ILA Rita Dove Poetry Award and was a finalist for the 2019 National Poetry Series.