A Second Death
how many times did he manage to shed
her confidence in his tongue? how many times
did he beat her into the ambivalence of grabbing
a butcher's knive and taking it to his clothes?
how many times did he call her bitch
until the epithet grew teeth?

lightning-quick off the bay
thunderheads summon a ritual rattling
cause a chill to the weak pink marrow

an afternoon's unruffled sleep following sex
spurs her to resist a murderous urge

(at the restaurant they exchanged rages.
she broadsides him with her blackened
Cajun chicken sandwich. he pierces her cheek
with a French fry. she a anoints him with his freshly
poured glass of white Zinfandel and stomps out)

there's little time for fear and none for wonder
she determines to leave him
if for a deeper mystery
if for a sweeter silence, if for a deadlier smile

but once through the door, she circles the block

spins as all directions fuse
and the speedometer registers zero

nowhere to go and no one waiting
but him

--- From Ostinato Vamps
Wanda Coleman
©2003 University of Pittsburgh Press
Send us e-mail


Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH