A predictably long-fingered man whose voice lifts and quiets
enters the bar and composes a speech
about the Linnaean order and then, naturally,
the taxonomy of Dickens.
Like those Dickens orphans
everyone is hungry. Everyone has
the means for an ache inside.
D. has blue-green eyes like J.
and the same habits of mind.
The naturalist and the philosopher—
each wants the pomegranate-eater for himself,
to order the disarray of her mind,
to install a system where there is none
but riotous want.
The language of sex is exhausted, might as well
say arcade, chandelier, junkyard, Brâncusi,
but oh, no, I forgot it’s my role
to function as mouth
and yes, we fuck, my body tits and all up
against the back wall of an alcove in that bar,
barely hidden by sliding saloon doors.
D. unzips his jeans, he spreads his fly, he gropes for an angle,
pushes inside anywhere my clothes me opening—
says I have great tits while my legs squeeze his hips legs still in my jeans—
he’ll only use tits during sex,
the rest of the time appropriate to women
and their bodies and I’ve never admitted it but I loved
Limes squeezed over glasses of water,
mackerel shining on the garbage heap, smoke
in the air, pitted asphalt, a door opening no hand on the knob.
I don’t understand, I don’t understand, J. says over and over,
as cuckolds do.
I see—I’ve left out the intervening state between first thought and first act—