Poem in Which My Body is a Ransom

Poem in Which My Body is a Ransom

Poem in Which My Body is a Ransom 1920 1537 Sandy Coomer

The note says thighs and shoulders, mouth and eyes.
I wait tables at an upscale restaurant in Belle Meade. I’m eighteen

with an invitation to spend a day with a forty-year-old man –
play tennis, dine at the country club. Here’s his card.

Anthony builds houses, drinks bourbon at the bar, drives a Porsche,
smiles with dark eyes, trick eyes. He calls me

beautiful.

I bring his food on a round white plate. He tips well. I need money
for college. I am a flame-thrower. My heat strips the night.

I am a cracked window, a broken latch, an empty cupboard,
a lost key. I am a vision, Anthony says. He leaves me love notes,

beautiful eyes.

I am a dark cavern, a lonely owl in the night. I am a tattoo of birds
that fly up and off my arms. I keep Anthony’s card in a drawer by my bed.

Anthony is waiting at the front door of the restaurant. Anthony is watching me
count tip money. I am a tidal wave wrecking the shore. I am a lost pier,

somewhere out at sea. I am a fish – flesh and scales. I am bait.

I am a river cutting the canyon, a train surging between coasts.
I am learning how it feels to be a woman

and a man is a man is a man is a man is a
man.

Header photograph © Rick Lingo.

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