Until I Learned How To Speak Right

Posted in nothing special by maggie on 2010/04/08

Until I learned how to speak right
I would use two fingers at the back of my throat
to smooth the translation.

I can tell when you are listening in.

You tell me the local language for it
and point to evidence of when you first knew
then avoid mentioning a disappointment
so we can hold the position midair
in ritualistic fugue.

I can tell you like when I get like this,
like it's for you, this side of the bone,
and my shadow fits nicely behind,
the skin tight when you let yourself touch.
I do it well enough to display,
and I don't show that I mind that you do.
I let myself go with you
so it shows how much you are
by how little I can be.
I see whom and what you show me
and I memorize my impressions for later,
when you'll want to know how well we did
and how all your intelligent friends
would be picturing us not waiting
until we got back to your place.

You let yourself think what you want
just happens to be easy for me to want,
like I haven't practiced being good enough
to match what's in you mouth to mouth,
like how I can swallow all you consume
and you wrapped around it, then still
collapse myself into this petite
complacency, this tiny indifference,
this lithe escape from control.
Like you're filet mignon with all the sides,
and your conversation's another glass of merlot,
and your body's the strawberry cheesecake
all taken with no hesitation,
no thought to my tomorrow,
and five minutes after time to myself
be out dancing with you on the floor,
so romantically out of it.

Did you know how far I can go on water?

Nothing but water.
You're telling me of the next arrangements
while I have you thinking I'm listening in,
and it escapes your notice or isn't important,
that it's been nothing but water
purifying and restoring and filling
and washing away the dirt and the guilt and you
out through the holy cycle,
out into the open,
out from where it hurt in ways I hadn't meant
until I learned how to speak right.

You don't fool them, you know,
your intelligent friends aren't so easily conned.
They pretend they don't know where their wives are
and what's been going down when they need time alone
and how much time they've put in at the gym
and how closely they watch the numbers,
and how far they still are from the nowhere,
the nothing they see in themselves.
They wonder at how I do it
and they can't keep their eyes off my mouth
while they picture how I would do it with them,
but they're not convinced that you know.

Are you aware they all know how I hate you?

Partly that's what makes it so easy,
despising the choice you make of yourself.
It's ancient history now, but still works as well,
like how I learned to take it without tears,
like how I can eat all you want me to
and never gain an ounce,
like it never was
any part of me.

When you first held me naked, I could feel
all your other women in how your touch fell,
carving a hole you weren't used to exploring,
and their bodies floated over my edges
while I let you decipher each secret,
which now you broadcast to your intelligent friends
as though proving you know how to read me
so sure I am yours.

Your boss makes passes at me every chance he gets,
makes a point of being as explicit as possible,
how deep and how hard and how many times.
You catch him leaning on me and think it good
for your career and your image and your ego
and you make up stories of me doing you both.
Does it matter that he knows that I hate you?
that he doesn't admire you the way you hope
because of me and how I am for you?
that he publicly undresses me only to show
how far you have failed to reach.

Your ex and I are on the best of terms.
She still finds you quite attractive,
I'm sure you know often enough.
She still thinks that makes you worth
what it takes to please you, yes often enough,
and she makes up stories of you doing us both.
She likes me because she knows I hate you.
A threesome with her would be dangerous
since you're not used to being ignored.
We always share a salad
without mentioning you.

You're supposed to make up for all I've missed:
the father I lost my one photograph of,
the brother charged as an adult,
the uncle who wouldn't leave me alone,
the nephews who each got their turn,
the teachers and colleagues in absentia,
the boyfriends with one thing in mind,
the one who would give me my child.
And the one I do miss
still speaks
like I want.

And she knew I would hate you like this.

We traded mysteries as openly
as me with two fingers following two quick glasses,
as her with a razor slanted in at an angle.
It managed to make sense,
without making it rhyme
or fit its form
like what you expect of me.

You'll be on top of me
holding my arms down
and I'll ache to crack apart
far enough to swallow you whole
and you think you've satisfied me
because it's enough for you.
You don't see the cut
nor the void.

You clench whatever's close
as you feel my teeth,
how to speak right.
My spit is hate.
My heat is hate.
My bite is hate.

So now I can do it without even thinking
about you, or how you squeeze my breast
or where you'll leave a fresh mark
and what you'll tell your intelligent friends
as if you alone know what might make me
lose control.

See these two fingers?
Until I learned how to speak right
they took care of writing down
what had to be brought up.


Sincere comment by readers who accept responsibility for their words will earn my appreciation and response.

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