by Liza Bachman

There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.
xxxxxxxThe first time you overdosed
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxit was a dead bluejay by the side of the road,
xxxxxxxtwisted but unblemished,
and I knew your taut lines had broken.

Next it was a hawk lost in this big city,
xxxxxxxflying across my windshield,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxa still-writhing snake in the talons
xxxxxxxand I knew I had to escape,
leave the powders and sweat-laden insomniac nights
leave the white trash walk-ons and their whispered incest
leave the rumors of rape and prowling undercover gods.

xxxxxxxThe way I remember?
it was your once-noble mind overthrown I loved
xxxxxxxbut betrayal can seep from cankerous intentions
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxcan and did infect me with each reechy kiss

xxxxxxxRecall, I cried for all your deaths
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxand you comforted me in mine.
But love, as money, is base
and is no reason to marry.
xxxxxxxYou felt I was halfway to a nunnery,
xxxxxxxxxxxindicated so each time you called me stupid, used me.

As always, the tender, naive lass
xxxxxxxmust bear the brunt of the man’s mortal coil.
xxxxxxxI could not watch your flirtation
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxwith that seductive other,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxthat which was not yours,
xxxxxxxtemptress of the undiscovered country.

Why is it women must always believe in God
and men expect to soak it from our mouths?

xxxxxxxI wish I had known the symbolism of flowers
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxand the sugar that crusts ulcerous lies.
I wish I had known it then,
xxxxxxxknown the readiness --
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe readiness is all.

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