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Pantoum in which the Tenant Signs Her Lease

If I had the courage to be smarter,
                     the coffee would still stain the linen cloth,
the therapist wouldn’t cry when I said
                     I wish I had the courage to be smarter.

The coffee would still stain the linen cloth
                     in the time-lapsed film of a tulip blooming.
I wish I had the courage to be smarter.
                     The landlord read my left palm. I am not

in the time-lapsed film of a tulip blooming.
                     I used to be smarter, an old line faded as
the landlord read my left palm. I am not
                     the girl I was when I didn’t say no in October.

I used to be smarter, an old line faded as
                     I forget the Erebus, for the man to set fire to
the girl I was when I didn’t say no in October.
                     I explained the meaning of obsequious in tears.

I forget the Erebus for the man to set fire to
                     the woman primeval, I, the woman bowing authorial,
I explained the meaning of obsequious in tears.
                     Couldn’t I believe me, couldn’t I didn’t I keep me 

the woman primeval, I, the woman bowing authorial.
                     We discussed even play fields. One man for another.
Couldn’t I believe me, couldn’t I didn’t I keep me
                     disabused of trouble that October, the months before

we discussed even play fields. One man for another
                     in whom I border myself, seek a feather bloodied and
disabused of trouble that October. The months before
                     I left a man at the altar, kissed the back of my life.

In whom I border myself, seek a feather bloodied and
                     give me the svelte belief of any numeric truth. If
I left a man at the alar, kissed the back of my life,
                     I would have the courage to be smarter than this.

Give me the svelte belief of any numeric truth if
                     it means I will finally believe me. If I only survived
I would have the courage to be smarter than this
                     faint palm line, a crag of stupid I only survived.
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Submissive

 
To begin, I say nothing. I disrobe
as sullen as a monk to the cool air.
I kneel on a pillow with calm, arms
resting on thighs. Worship comes


easy. I clean the bathroom. The master
wants to teach me the missing part
of myself. He presses his sour wedge
into my throat until he is the you


of this poem. Friend, I wish you nothing
but well. I train my mind to never be
exceptional. My body does not sleep.
It aches like a father pressed against


a window watching the daughter step
into a stranger’s car. I train my mind
to tell you this. The corset materials
up my ribs, my only protection mimes


my shape. I am an incomplete gesture.
I kneel and wait. You will come into 
the room as you came into yourself,
a soundless baron. What would you 


have me do? So many girls live in
the clasp of my garments. They keep the
phantom in tact. A bell goes off and you
enter. Come. Try your best to hurt me.
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There Is Hope

I have settled into myself. A sediment no longer clouds
up in liquid bloom. In stillness, I see my particulates.

I don’t know if it’s the same for you. M. tells me no one
should be able to undermine my power, but isn’t power

only such for how easily it can be thrown over? Take
this bridge. Men engineered a line over water to connect

two futures. I walk a bridge toward a future so slowly,
a wisteria tracing the air for animal warmth. I no longer

want to be animal warmth. Rarely does a bridge collapse.
Pedestrians walk with purpose across time, from one

future to another. We line up to our loneliness here,
alone, alive, to see the spectacle of it. The shine of sun

over the surface of a river. Rarely do jumpers die from
drowning. The water is a splitting surface. The fall is

another line connecting futures. The body stops at
75 miles an hour, the organs jolt forward and sever. 

A man wrapped in soiled blankets sleeps, a perpendicular
dot between futures. The sun shines over the river. 

On impact, the ribs break. The surface as hard as the past 
we cannot fix. I could have loved you fiercely.