They plunged deep in
out of the world
right in the middle of it
Would that women were so
open with their readiness, crying
“Come get me” in the night —
“Come get me” — while the
neighbors grumble, “What
is that?” and shut their windows
against the excess of need.
Back when I worked at Charlie’s
in Seattle not in New York,
I got it for once from both sides –
the dreamy looks and jokes,
the ever-in-my-section, thumb-rubbing-
fingers like the promise of money –
and the thing itself – big tips and a
206- just for being me.
The money part’s the part that made me not
mind it overly much – though I’d hustle in and out
when it was a group of guys,
with their hush-before-arrival and
They could hope for their
“maybe later at the–”
where I’d never ever be. And so
it was nothing, nothing at all
until one day on the bus I
looked at a girl and she looked at me
till she looked away uncomfortably
and got off the bus.
Only then did I recall
the man who’d scared me off
with that same hunger on that same bus,
and thus became clear
what was ever clear to a girl:
Men will ever be menacing,
and I will ever be of them.
As night falls pregnant women
exercise in the park and parents
clean the classrooms of the school
(with buckets and rags, I remember
how that was). It’s all green now,
every tree is filled with multiple
shades of dark green, the delicate
dusty pale pink has left us.
I wonder how soon I will see
the change again – the yet darker and fuller
giving way to the first gold.
Sooner than I think tonight, surely.
But happily, this easy arc of color
has no true downside.