Decree

(for Drew)

After a while you’ll come back to me,
bend to kiss me, tell me it’s all right and to
come to bed, where you can prove it.
Did you brace for this day, knowing that
even the joy of it couldn’t be bloodless?
Freedom always has a price, the cliché says; It’s
going to come due in some kind of pain,
hurt the inevitable result of rising above.

I’m holding the big brown envelope that slipped in with the
junk mail and bills, flopped on the floor,
kicked me before I could kick it. I don’t
look inside, don’t have to. I know the lawyer’s name as well as
my own, it seems like. You read it for me,
nod over paper so thick and creamy it’s almost cloth,
open your arms so I’ll have somewhere to run, whisper,
“Petal, it’s all right. I’ll take care of you.” Later you leave
quietly, to give me time to think my thoughts and write this poem,
reconsider how much I like myself, or have a nap.

Soon you’ll come back, undress me, love me,
take care of me just the way you said.
Under a sweat-damp sheet you’ll make me giggle, do tender
violence to my body, promise me the world
wrapped in satin ribbons and delivered by Air
X-press. You’ll make it all right, as much as it can be:
You’ll touch me all better; I’ll whisper the words I didn’t use in this poem:
Zoophagous, circumflex, polychromatic, as you unbutton my blouse.

(2011)

An exercise poem, the prompt being to write an abecedarian poem. The playfulness of the form made this much easier to write. It’s a real-time poem, written in the moment in time it describes.

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