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August 1, 2019 Poetry

Three poems

Claire Denson

Three poems photo

Amoral Impurity

Picking at ingrown
pubes on the porch swing
in the sun on the first
summery day of May 
and the dogs reach up to lick
my cooch. This is not 
the first time today I’ve pushed 
a face away from my pussy. 
Animals don’t care 
about social propriety or man-
made morality. I’m not advocating 
for beastiality. One summer
I went to a stranger’s apartment 
to fuck and his dog 
kept eating my ass.
I was laughing too hard 
to push it away, its tongue
so wet and long. I promise 
I didn’t enjoy it
or cum that night. They say
dogs are so pure 
but I once hugged a man 
and his 75-pound pit 
mounted me, nearly knocking
me over. I thought she was going in 
for a hug or to dance. She humped me 
and moaned drool. And then 
my sorrow. Time and time again
what I trust to be wholesome 
never is: an ear to listen,
an extended hand. 
Always reaching. 
Who’s the pure one now. 

Congenital Insensitivity 

Like a baby ripping out 

its own eyeballs, chewing 

off its tongue, like that comic 

of the dog drinking coffee 

at a table and smiling

as the room around him

erupts in flame: This is fine, 

my mind welcomed

the heat, 

the same way how, 

after a long day,

a body welcomes 

a shower that scorches 

the skin red

when I asked her 

how to slice my skin

safely, how sharp 

the knife, or pin 

or blade, the pressure 

to place, how not to faint, 

and weighed, aloud, risk

against desire. I measure 

the humor 

of every situation 

based on its consequence.

So after I answer 

the phone at midnight and deny

them my address, then answer

the knock at dawn, and after 

the officer greets me, 

and after he leaves,

and after the dean calls,

when she reaches out,

and I think to say,

well then, as we all know:

snitches get stitches

I smile instead,

biting my tongue till the iron soothes.


after C.D. Wright’s “Floating Trees”

in another day of cleansing shadows 
the tub recedes from the wall
the wall mourns  
its decaying caulk

day of worn skin
day breaks into a long 
sigh, bemoaning 
the drapes of light

the drain swallows the tub
the tub aches for the window

at the window a cactus thrives 
the night wraps its long legs
around the window’s edges

the tub peers over its edge 
the moon lights the tub’s view
until morning rises to meet night

in another tale my tiptoe love 
in another night not a tap leaks


image: Aaron Burch