I was cultivated
like a child promised to some dignitary,
in a pen almost large enough to turn in;
taken out for school
and the shampooings I hated.
In class, they tinkered at my speech,
furtive and Cimmerian.
You were adding the bulk you would need,
sex growing to an unsnappable stalk.
We aren’t done:
your smell is on my dress
like a lapful of prawns;
I can feel your tugs at yourself
as if the string were still tied to me.
Somewhere, the constant transmission
of me, naked, stooping to test the bathwater.
You eat your mother’s cooking
and write to other girls.
They scatter, you are not surprised,
and you check the old lines
to see what decoy I’ve grabbed.
You think you will board softly,
that you will surprise me—
but I can still live on your rations,
still have the gills to breathe under your hand.
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