April 1998 / Volume One / Issue Two
Alice Cone
I'd Rather Not Have Muse
Than See You Like This

It's happening again,
you a clapper
in some cracked
plastic bell,
banging your balls
against that hollow
in your scream to be
instead of just
sitting down,
sitting down
to the desk,
to the card table,
to read what's written
on the back of your hand.

You had to become
some lightning bug
in distant summer dusk,
zipping about,
crashing into trees,
what light you can,
avoiding, for now,
the zap and buzz
of the yellow bug-catcher--
that caged horror
that casts sickly fog
over all the drawn faces
in the yard-- veering
close enough,
once in a while,
for me to discern
one word
from the book
that remains
in my hands.

But off you go,
back into oblivion,
gutless enough
to turn your shoulder
on love's many unguarded
jurisdictions, to ignore
the unnameable zone
where I hold you
without touching
neither fucking you
nor birthing you
nor preparing your body
for burial,
just listening,
for a moment.
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