You pie crust, just skin,
you tuck and fold and stitch,
you mesmerist how
you bend, confuse the
ardent gazer, you
tricked out chorus girl
you geisha you
where only a slit
has gleamed its blank
eye since fall’s sad
harvest, spot where
the skin forgot
the cloak it dropped,
now you, simulacrum,
crown the mound,
a fold-and-sew tattoo—
collage skilled fingers built,
the stuff of double-takes,
numb as my tulip
bulbs’ February bruise but
not bad, you pretty
good enough to eat.
Sugar, when I traffic your wholesome
flax, spend our twenty-one day visitation
eating fried restaurant eggs with bacon
and playing blackjack for sticks
of Fruit Stripe gum, harming
and scheming the next harm,
I need rotten redemption like the ravage
glaciers do to land. Sequined,
rhinestoned, I’ll all night dance
at El Jardin, take a damsel home
to not marry, besmirch the domestic
that urges pure, sand my edges
round. There’s not enough
rock and roll on this earth to swab
my eardrums filthy as I need
them. How many jangled weekends
packed with car-buying might this
require? When I hung a Bud Light sign
in the window of my basement
apartment on Racine, I was
flipping you the bird. Once
the party gets going, I can’t hear
you knock over the din.
Have you seen a girl about this high,
Mean rodeo presence?
Left her hours in the Lincoln to bake.
She flies in loops, kicks dirt.
Houses have insides and people
Admire and buy. Full of bowls.
I know my child’s fingernail and earlobe.
Have you seen a girl about this high?
Milk teeth something else to part
With. The rodeo ring dusty. Barrel.
She’s got a nub coming in: white
Turns pink where it shows through gum.
When the yay-high girl returns dusty
From her rodeo, accolades.
My girl grows new teeth in sleep.
Blue the room the underside of her bed.
Bowls are nice because they hold
Unkempt wanderings together chunk-like.
Urging the horse on: delicate. Think of
Dew, ride your horse like dew rides a bloom.
Wouldn’t any little girl in this situation.
Ask for a better situation.
Put your arm in the bowl elbow-first and soak it.
Unutterables lodge in rafters.
Barrels white, a triangle, red stripes.
Clicking kisses with the upper throat: go.
I’m not asking for a room in which.
The horse is still the best conveyance I’ve known.
So much talk about bowls we forgot
To mention. I’ll go back
Into the story and free the girl
Waiting for dinner in the dark apartment.
She will be surely split in sun in
Shadow. If he pressed harder just a little
On her throat. How close death was, how
Many times. No one has ever needed me more.
Cleft in the lanscape if it’s hilly.
There’s room for beauty here; she’s it.
About Cameron Gearen
*Note: "Self-Portrait" and "Mania/He Said" appear in Some Perfect Year.
Cameron Gearen’s book of poems, Some Perfect Year, came out in early 2016 from Shearsman Press and is available for purchase from amazon.com. She won the Grolier Prize, the Barbara Deming / Money for Women Fund and other prizes. She publishes essays in Dame Magazine and blogs almost daily at camazon.tumblr.com. Her short fiction is up at The Easy Chair podcast. She works as a freelance writer and college counselor.