Three Poems

Cartography

She will not send her daughter into the world
like a Gretel
mapless
dependent upon the kindness of strangers.
She will not,
though most of the time
it’s the people you know.
How to explain this
to a girl who looks her in the eye
and says,
Nothing’s going to happen.
(I thought the same)

I’m smart, you know.
I talk to my friends. In fact,
I probably know more than you.

(not this)
What do you think, anyway—
I’m going to get raped?

 

Unadorned

And when it is over
you must walk
back into the world,
the air peculiar
against your body

 

The Tiny Details Of Being Human

Suddenly, this winter,
I have begun to call myself sweetie;
at home, in private,
in my head.
It makes everything easier, somehow,
even my grief.
And now,
at the uppity hair salon,
it slips out of my mouth,
landing like a kiss on the receptionist’s cheek.
Loud and platinum,
she’s not anyone I’ve felt an affinity with,
yet, having suffered my own trials,
I suspect she has too.
Sweetie, I say,
Sweetie.

From The New Quarterly, 113 – Winter 2010

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