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August 7, 2017 | Poetry

Two Poems

Samantha Guss

Two Poems photo

(The baptism.)

The first time I had sex
my hymen didn’t break
and you missed your bus

We wrote Mary Karr on
the margin of my arm
in pen

I washed around her
then let you lick it off

That was how it went

(How did she taste, Mary Karr?
Sweet?)

Cats lick people for their salt

When cats licked Mary Karr at her baptism
she tasted like sin

Let me begin again

Sometimes
on my way to you I
ride the subway
with my eyes closed
hands free
a trust exercise

Sometimes
Mary Karr catches me by the arm

There is something she has to tell me

Sometimes
she catches me by the foot

Sometimes she misses

Sometimes on my way to you I
miss my train

There is something-
let me end

No
Let me remind you
there was a time when I didn’t know you

There was a time when we were like two dust motes
floating on the cornea of God’s eyeball
he blinked and we converged

(Have you heard the sound of God blinking?
It is a thunder clap)

And about that
when we were baptized we were bathed in dust
before God blinked and the thunder clapped
the lightning struck us and
we turned to glass
so that we could see right
through one another

(                                                                                      )

What is a trust exercise
with a body made of glass

(                                                                                      )

It is not the pellucidity of memoir
it is not the tracing of the curve
of an engram
etched on the skull

No, Mary Karr

What is a closed eye
with an eyelid made of glass

It is all the universe
and you
and me
part of a cool, disperse pith
two crystal grains
at the bottom of the shaker

(                                                                                    ..)

(I brush my mother’s hair.)

I brush my mother’s hair
I Ped Egg my mother’s feet
I run her bath and reuse the soapy water

I grew up in a naked family
Or I grew up with two very naked family members
My mother and my sister sit naked at the dining room table

Please wear pants at the dining room table
No thank you

They are two women in protest against
Everything

I grew up in a very loving family
In a house with a dining room table
Where we would all sit together for dinner on Fridays

I brush my mother’s hair across vast distances
I brush my own hair
My hair is like my mother’s hair
My hair is like a memory of my mother’s hair
It is like a memory of my mother’s childhood
At night, on Facebook, I stalk myself
And I pull out my hair

When I am home, I bring my mother pants at the dining room table

image: Tara Wray


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