805 Readings | 2 Ratings

WHEN HE IS A WOMAN

When he is a woman I set his hair,
 the brown strands
 exit the comb’s teeth
 gold, lengthening
 down his shoulders, and that broad spread
     narrows into delicacy, tapers
to a slender waist I put my hands around
  when I want him to feel small.
  
When he is a woman I am a man
and as a man I am aware
    of how to make his breath catch as I touch
   one freckled breast
    as I unbuckle
                         my buckle with a definitive air.

When he is a woman
  I feel optimistic,
    when he is in a dress that suits
his small frame, when the heels
 he walks in puts his round hips to sway,
all these things make the smoke hover
  above my scotch
   on the rocks. In this, as in all things, I am traditional.

When he is a woman the love feels more
 real his eyelashes more real his mouth
  like an unkissed girl’s more real
     and I hold to the fiction
   he’s never known another’s hand
sliding up his thigh, not this way,
or another mouth
speaking these words that glide up his thoughts
   the way I man up,
the way a man declares
a land claimed, and then there’s a flag,
 
  the way a hand grasps that flag’s shaft
   and sinks it into the earth,
which is receptive to that thrust,
    as if always waiting to know it.
Posted 09/22/13
Previously published in Catch Up.
Books by Rebecca Hazelton
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