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Addressed to Her


ISSUE:  Spring 2004

Provincetown, June 2002

On seeing you that second time last night,
Pat Benatar a disembodied blare
amidst a night yet ravenous for dares,
I thought I’d talk to you, to ask you why

you let him grab your bangled arm that way.
Presumptuous, I thought myself, to want
to enter in your narrative of hurt.
A sparkly rhinestone necklace named you “Kaye”;

your tan was richly oiled, as if burnished more
by hand than sun. A teenager flashed by,
his skateboard growling come-ons as he eyed
your heaving breasts. I wondered, too, how your

caress might feel, if not to me, then to another.
Around you glowed the plinkering arcade,
like summer carnivals where I played straight.
“Stop it—hey, you’re hurting me.” I smothered

her, desperate to remake myself, her body
so soft I prayed it might accept me, hold
impressions long enough to be retold
as truth. Kaye, I wanted to so badly

I made myself forget what you must know:
You turn to him, so awkwardly bent back,
too beautiful to resist, the night gone black,
and offer your unyielding, human soul

stretched taut—forgiving him, forgiving us.

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