So Long as Men-Folk Stay Away
I know your weakness for sturdy breasted lace.
My ribs don’t bend easy, but when I met you,
I strung my corset tight. With such diminutive hands,
my waist need be small if you’re to encircle it.
I remember the first night, when you took off
your spectacles and your eyes shook liquor into me.
I had a bed—big enough and good enough to take you in.
You tasted like almonds, like poison.
I understand you having to go away.
No money to be had in Black River Falls.
So off you go, trying to pass; testing yourself
in the bed of every town whore.
Do you long for the scolding and pinched ears
and all you know awaits you?
I’ve never been Hell on wheels,
but I can live in true outlaw style.
We’ll disguise ourselves as raw-boned
boys from prairie towns.
I’ve grown bolder since you left.
I cut off my hair when it wouldn’t curl.
I shoot squirrels in my dressing-gown, leaving the bodies
for the other squirrels to find, as warning or wish.
I’ll cross the territory, soon as you send word.