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Jade Benoit

Nancy

 

Nancy assembles her body facade

with evening gloves & bouffant hair weave.

 

She preaches some serious porn star gospel.

She enjoys the occasional all-girl panty raid

but hushes the burn marks on her thighs, laced

with a garter, a landscape that won’t leave my hands still.

 

On prom night, Nancy is some kind of Hollywood.

 

Her laugh is wide as the curtain, the curtain wide

& hiding those camera club eyes only I see, a look that goes

all Bettie Page beneath the bleachers.

 

The debutantes do the Watusi & the crowd hollers

for what my dying wish was the two of us: alone

in the locker room, being our most pin-up together &

our breath mixing with lipstick lettering on the mirror

that spells: D-R-E-A-M-T-E-A-M.

 

But Nancy is slow dancing with Roger.

His hair is frosted like the side of a wedding cake.

 

Blowjobs! she mouths to me, afraid

her curls might fall from their pins. Hell yes!

 

-

 

Song Vs. Mother Vs. Wine

 

The emergency is over but the surgery tools still clink. I am picked apart I am nothing. I say to her: I am nothing without my Mother but she can’t read my lips through binoculars doused in holy water. The taffeta on my gown unravels. It sheds itself with my oxygen mask & I am fleeing the hospital. I am pressing hard on my wounds to keep my blood from running over the neighborhood & sky. Everyone is watching. The guardian angel from my picture books is standing outside the liquor store. She is smoking a cigarette & sipping cheap red wine from the bottle. The blood of Jesus she toasts & her heart rubs my rib as if it were my own. Her Cyndi Lauper t-shirt is ripped right through bright letters that say Oh Girls! reminding me who I have become. I am a wife mixing with runoff in the gutter. I am a songbird beside you our wings are retracted. Every sound we make together is a letter I might have written my Mother but she only listens that same crackling hymn: Lord I wanna go to heaven / But I don’t wanna die & I am just bleeding like hell all over it. 

 

-

 

The Reckoning

 

don’t : just don’t : don’t ripple away from me like : disturbed water : retreating with magnolia petals & cricket husks : don’t remove your human thumbprint ground in ash on my forehead : keep the thick fog on the bank : from becoming my carnival mask : lead me like starlet beauty : to the mattress : submerged in the river : i wrote a scripture : i named it stitches : the silence means I can’t howl : at the dirty animal on the horizon : with teeth like kitchenware & all its fog just drooling for me : don’t you see : the shellacked bark of old me : needs blessing : stripped bare : to pure healthy pill : just don’t let go of me: a dog belongs on a chain : or a doormat with me & my groom : fucking in an empty room : with antiseptic walls & rinsed-out womb : i’m sorry i taste like salt : dunk me under : make my skin : a new kind of candy

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