Poetry

Catcalls

Once upon a time,

They called for her:

Cats in black Cameros,

Cruising by slow;

Wolves on worksites,

Gripping hammers

In calloused fists;

Men who held her youth

And innocence

In some hard regard.

Nowadays,

The only cat who calls

Is her hungry, insistent kitten;

The wolves who whistle

Are coyotes,

Skulking among the ewes

In the dusk pasture.

The squawks of Stellar’s jays

Are a constant reminder:

She is no longer young,

And has long ago left Strolling the city’s streets.



Habitation

He rarely speaks my name anymore.

He says it’s not necessary.

He says names are for unfortunate others

Not acquainted so intimately.

I am not sure how I feel about this

Anonymous intimacy—are we

Two strangers living in a common house?


His body moves through mine as through a door,

Pushing toward escape so persistently.

I am not sure if I exist during

This communion of boredom and ecstasy.

The passionate prayer is uttered in silence

So as not to betray our identity:

Two strangers living in a common house.


Does he touch me as he touched women before,

Or am I different, separate from memory?

Do his hands hold the power to tell me from

Another flesh since his tongue ignores me?

I seek recognition in his voice

Because I no longer want to be

Two strangers living in a common house.


I listen for some whisper of opportunity

To articulate the forbidding words.

I will speak of love when introducing

Two strangers living in a common house.

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