Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2017  Vol. 16 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Girl in Sheep’s Clothing (1989)

Free of fouls and free throws, sprints and suicides,
the gym is an Elysium of helium and Mylar.
One night of streamers and fairy lights
and I’m the impossible gentleman,
how I’ve slipped on this sex
one leg at a time, its worsted weight
wobbles my waltz on the hardwoods.
Here I am drunk on aftershave,
on juniper and bay, I rope-a-dope
in haze of cedar, unseen
by the scoreboard’s dead eyes.

Girl who could wear anything, woman
who is everyone, mother who’s not here:
I no longer need your hands in my waistband,
yanking shirttails into submission.
I can tighten the knot at my throat on my own.
Turn away from my swagger and sway;
it’s not for you that these wing tips sing.
Don’t ask me to come strapless,
a living thing packed to the fins in sparkling—
I’d sooner be scaled than sequined.

Don’t ask me to shed this camel-hair bunker:
this suit is my three-piece tabernacle, where
I can vanish this double-breasted body, shrug
its heft from my seersucker heart.  

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