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
(sometimes
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
through
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
it,
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

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.

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there’s something about
a man in uniform
that asserts his existence

army fatigues
and you know he means business
and he’s dignified
and would probably hold the door open
for a lady

or an astronaut
because you know every man
wanted to be one when he was a boy
unafraid of the imagination
or constellations
keeling over

you, you’d look good in a tie
shirt tucked in, clean shaven
shoulders cut sharp
like a cheetah’s grin

a pencil behind the ear
means he is calculative, his movements
are measured
and lenses if he’s perceptive

the man in uniform
thinks he’s got Power
he wears his grit on his sleeve,
the shoes tell
if he’s cruel or kind
or if he’s got a type

the man plays dress-up
faking to be
what a woman
pretends she
wants him to be