balasana (child’s pose)

she carries it in her hips:

an emotion

a longing the length unfurled
of the lined rings in sequoias

she carries it
with his intent
without permission)
in between

and through her lovers,
she carries it further
(sometimes her lover,
she carries it, too)
and resists that it sag down
or topple out

she notices it
when walking,
stubborn and obese
by the way others call out
and stalk or gaze
and fade away

sometimes she drags it
the largest widening
making room for
another in pain

she carries it
in a baby’s cry,
feels it against
her babe’s thighs

she carries it
whether she is called
mom or jane or
any self-given name

and it only rests
knees to chest
in the privacy
of the couch corner
or the bathroom sink

it funnels
to the crease of the paused book
when she’s done
being a woman for the day

when she can release
shrinking slender into
the not-so-heavy
flanks of a girl

even alone,
what a woman carries
is not only hers

but of everyone she loved
and looked at
that day, that year
in all times, both
in fruitful deliverings
and arrivals unheard


a suit and tie

behind every good man is a good woman,
they say.

well, behind a good woman is a good man
who behaves like a good, loyal dog.

she might have rescued him from a dumpster
or had to chase him ’round the block because he
was used to jumping the fence and running away.

but soon he learned to love the hand that feeds him,
and he looked damn good on a leash,
in a suit and tie.


crazy . bitch

she kicks the panic switch
and your sweetheart’s
gone gone gone

you tried wooing her fairly
you were to stand and
treat her well
but she’d gone, wary
of your chivalry
and stomped up the stairs
like you beat her bottom
with a slotted wooden spoon

crazy . bitch

she throws a good fit
and you perspire
lap it up like sex
bite into it like a juicy plum

you tried to restrain her
keep her little wrists straight
her abdomen taut
and her heart cupped close
but she denied the beatings
that pumped her pulse

so you catch her in fire
and you walk with it
you leave the embers
then she stomps on them
she burns her feet
then you wait
for her to shut up

crazy . bitch !

she likes to get hit
and watch you fall deeper
with each swing

she knows the more
she pants and resists,
the more you’ll love her
and you know,
it’s her thing

you’ll do her right
you’ll deliver flowers
in the daytime
to her desk
when she’s nice and pampered
and pinker
than fresh-picked
wild strawberries
in dew and sun

then she’ll kiss you back
softly in thanks
as if afraid
her breath could sour
so she hooks into you
from the roses in her blush

your knuckles ravaged
by hidden thorns,
she’ll kiss you back
and all your pains away,
because that bitch
loves you
in a crazy kinda way

to the man who worries

To the Man who worries:

Don’t bicker with little girls,
that makes you a little boy

Push-ups when you’re mad,
and Gin when you’re Mad for her

Meet your Match
Stand your Ground
with a Woman
Let your skin get stuck under her nails

See what she likes
and test what she doesn’t
Show her who’s Daddy
but don’t break out your bills

Stay tough
Keep wearing your black shirts
and buckle your belt, the tightest notch
Wear a leather watch
but don’t track the time lost

Make sure it hurts, everything
from pulling to Promises
to cock fights to tears in ligaments

To the Man who worries
about her whereabouts:


Think about her in your bed
or under your weight
Does she know any other?
Has she kept closed like a Virgin?
Does she call you baby?
Do you make her swear?

To the Man who worries:

Does she go places without telling,
wish you were here?
And does she always want to be
the Rippling under your covers?
the Warmth that’s only yours
and no one else’s to Save from
the Russian winter,
the Northern wind
that forces your shutters open
ice shards through your skull

Does she do her best to scare
away the thought that she
might not be there one day?

If so, Don’t
be the Man who worries.
just be Her Man.

with style

you could be an asshole

and I could hit you,
but I won’t.

not out of fear
that you’re stronger than me,

(that’s obvious.)

but because beneath the slates
of your tendons
and the grates
of your teeth

is a silken soul
that swishes as a palm tree
in a hurricane,
one named after a more exotic me.

it does its best
to get you down,
yet you topple
to humor the storm.

when it’s over
I’ll exhaust you for firewood
even though dampened

with all that sweat
from all that pulse.

I was built
hip to hip
and with tongue touched to the lips
making sounds
to bring a man to his knees

to be a tease
to swing my bones in an unnatural
way, to sing to the birds,
to play in the creeks,

to escape the gropes at my ankles
yet only at a finger’s reach
of ease.

but instead, my dear,
I aim to please:

I feed you by the mouth,
I invite you inside
my oasis when you’re feeling
less like yourself and
more like a broken idol.

I ignore your toughened brow
and I cover up when you’re not home
and I act like a refugee
removed from the sticks.

I tell you it’s me who needs the saving,
— not you
— never you.
and it’s me who couldn’t do the damage
even if I tried,

but I won’t

because you could be an asshole,
but you’re not.

instead, we ache for the other
and we taunt with our voltas
and we jive with our love in fists
like we’re figments of the heart’s eye —

we hurt good with our words
(but not with our hands)
and we do it ruthless
and we do it with style.

we can be alone

in an alternate universe

i write with pencil
so i can retrace and undo
my tracks like a math equation,
and you’ll paint a portrait
with your toes
of the boy you used to be.

you admit the poet in you,
and i fess up to the fighter in me,
and we’ll duel on equal ground
— you’ll break me down
gentle like i need to be,
and i’ll show you what a woman really knows
(and all that she doesn’t).

you’ll accept that Esquire
is my favorite magazine
not for the men or style
but for the breasts,
and there will be dinner
on the red checkered tablecloth
when you walk through the door
— and lots of steak (medium-rare)
with potatoes as my addition.

i’ll call you by your Russian
birthname because i like to hiss
and deceive when i speak,
you’ll teach me a waltz, a polka,
or a swing
— and we can answer each other’s fan mail
and invent the other’s past,
tell fallacies
about the weight of love,
how it’s always true
but never lasts.

in an alternate universe
everyone can be lonely
but us,

we can be alone:

wild as wolves
running from the nighttime cops,
faithful as once-abused dogs
with a pant that sounds the alarms
of the world.

your biggest fan

there’s no book of rules
for Love, babe

that say I have to be your biggest fan, though
you don’t have to hear my cry to know that I am.
you shouldn’t ever have to ask to hold my hand.
and when they wonder, is that my boy?
I answer: “no, that’s my man.”

I don’t want flowers or pearls, babe.
I don’t even need my toes to curl.
we can sit cross-legged in an empty room,
and I’d believe it if you’d say here
contains all the wisdom of the world.

I don’t want to know your past, babe —
and I’m not begging for the future.
but I hope when night falls,
it will be me who shares your pillow,
your one and only,
the girl who made you more than sure.