A night's worth of rain at sunrise. I could drown
in a teacup under a shake of the oleander branch.
I only asked for water, but you bring me vaseline.
I dig deep, find the barter in me. That’s the spirit,
you say. You sleep while I'm left half undrunk.
I grab the keys to your unmarked car.
then comes the part just before I wake up
we are sitting
side by side on the sofa
and you are opening envelopes
we are watching television
a game show in the bonus round
when I realize
I’ve slid my hand flat under your ass
to place a part
and the earth’s gravity
or maybe just to warm my hand as though
you were my husband
and I could be so familiar
with your body
or even mine
It's what I do alone, drive to the North Side, where
the finest ingredients are used, where the sign means
to say GIRLS, but the L is missing, as though once
you get inside you will hear the voices of bears.
Where the tornado hit last year. I never bothered
to come see the uprooted trees, overturned sidewalk,
those bright blue tarps tossed over the roofs. Sleeping
low income children, their mothers dancing for money.
GIR_S. The dream recurs in the gymnasium of my junior high.
Tell myself I am a star. Tell myself the aftermath in past tense.
As it turns out the choice was always one between
my finger and the rest my life. Pointing away from myself
inside the dark room, poking into the red glow across
the surface of a stop bath. Chemistry, repelled and rapt.
Call it a reaction of emergence. This is how we learn
what is not covered in health class, a boy’s erection
through layers of cloth, a living thing against my thigh.
We hover toward each new inkling, fruit in each other’s hands.
I mean it’s not like this was ever my idea, all the boys
on one side, all the girls on the other, lined up, unscathed.
Jane Loechler is a poet and sculptor in St. Paul, Minnesota. By day she is a counter of tax payers' beans. None of these have turned out to be magic yet, so she is holding on to the cow for now. She received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design and has poems published or forthcoming in Bat City Review, Elimae, PANK 8, Burntdistrict and Sugar House Review. More at: wilcken.tumblr.com