blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



The State-Line Stripper

I got lost.
At a family picnic for the employees
of Martha White Self-Rising Flour.
Two lovers found me down by the Tennessee River,
a little fat girl
crying into the lichen on a stone's face,
and took me to the grandstand—

I got lost. And then I lost my fear.
Strangers and high places
and nightly publishing myself
naked except for a fireman's hat.
I danced and Jehovah's Witnesses
came unglued in the parking lot.

My creation was like the earth's.
In the beginning there was shame,
then the body after shame,
dangerous happiness—
If I could remember how I got here
I wouldn't be lost.

Yet my body recommends me.
All that I promised that I would not do, I did.
I got over my fear of darkness
when it seemed to me anything out there
would probably be better
than what shone here in the light. 

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