The Trouble with Openings
is they unclose you,
become an invitation to pillage.
You let a man burgle your organs
then feed him before he flees
out the window, down the fire escape.
You say, Come back anytime, I'll be in.
I've been deflead, my shots are up to date.
Then he's gone and you're left
with only all your wide-open empties
which spread, and burrow through your walls,
and admit so much.
for Sarah C. Harwell
The invitation that never came claimed, Come, this should be fun,
and being a sucker for events where I'm unwanted
I shrugged on my prettiest face and the shirt I wear
to be tastefully naked in public, I cultivated each eyelash.
By the time Sidekick honked outside I'd talked down
to my mirror for hours, and was ready to hole up at home,
but Sidekick insisted we circle the party in her car,
practicing the smoldering looks we'd bless the men with,
imagining the way each one would sit in shadow,
though some of them we bargained back down to boys
renamed Flimsy, Slipknot, Inflation. Eroded egos
shored up by the wailing radio, which advertised our options
as either: a) happily ever after, or b) a lifetime of wretchedness,
we entered the usual awkward: the host was large with light,
he had a love, everyone else was half of a pair.
. . .
Sidekick and I gnawed at stale bread crusts like the prisoners we were.
We took down a book and read some dead men aloud
to stave off despair, which worked for ten or eleven minutes.
Then I exiled myself to the porch to phone people
scattered across other hours, my real friends, and confess
Some of us here will be utter failures and I am not immune,
but when I couldn't reach anyone in my same state
of intoxication, I tottered home on my stilts
along the park where girls wearing pheromones like mine
are violated or disappeared,
and called my sleeping father, and spoke into his answering machine
as fast as I forgot what I needed to say,
messages he would hear
a year from now, a thousand miles away, yesterday.