Poems, by Julie Marie Wade.
Parts of Speech
1) Cantaloupe; serendipitous selection; deep green of the vigorous rind
2) Salutation; coming or going, a wave is always the same
3) Curfew: I want you home with me, in bed
4) Helix, Entendre, & all things folded in half
5) Television; if you look hard enough, there’s a mirror inside
6) Circumcision, & other pilferings of the body
7) Polygon, encompassing an indeterminate number of sides
8) Sunrise: conversation piece & practical light
9) Euphemism—the one they forgot—the reason for two chairs at this table
For Bridget Wilson, Whose Favourite Word Is/Was Eleemosynary
We failed Chemistry together.
A series of one-act plays.
Glitter, Arugula, & Cabbage.
Her hair “coarse as a horse,” & yellow like straw.
Not pretty but—
Not pretty but—
Little braids in the bang-line.
A kerchief choking it back.
And I thought,
There must be something special about a girl
so easily mistaken for a sunflower.
In Southern France—she was with her whole
family, and they all looked like sunflowers,
standing there in the high grass.
If I could have found the words then,
If I could have found the words—
I would have thanked her for
teaching me about t-shirts tugged
over long sleeves in winter & blue jeans
shredded at the seams. And
gritty, Guthrie-laced sneakers: hours of
Oh, Bridget, what we don’t learn over
tepid cafeteria food!
What the ACRONYMS can’t begin to describe.
I wanted to bury my face in your hair
so many times, stretched out on your
binder, bulky & blue, studded with white-out stars.
Always, a reasonable distance—
Yet: Flux. Sestina. Yarn.
When you were gone, the storms quieted.
I got on with my studies.
My future set out like a dinner plate,
yours an imponderable meal.
For the Pretty Boy of the Starched White Shirts
I would have done anything for you.
Do you understand?
It was desperate, & I am not proud
of the fact that all my feminisms
fell right out the window in immaculate defenestration
the first time your eye lingered on mine under the auspices of
our “meeting of the minds.”
That is, I wanted to unbutton each proper button
of your starched white shirt &
let my hands loose under your Hanes classic cotton crew,
which I was almost absolutely certain that you wore.
You said “coordinate,” & I was baited like a guppy on your hook.
A book you passed across the table,
& I touched it as a relic from a foreign land.
You said “historicize,” & I could think only of zippers missing teeth.
Your body bare beneath the sheets. My legs split. My lamp lit.
Caroling, we’d say, in time for Christmas.
What love letters could I have written but hagiography?
What kisses could I have given but my whole breath bent beyond asphyxiation?
And the fantasy—I’m not too shy to say—
of being stung by a Portuguese man-of-war, entangled in its ten-foot tentacles,
while you naked, unmoored in the Mediterranean,
having ventured away from the elegant catamaran that brought you lonely
to these shores, pulled me free & weak & weightless in the water,
guiding me over gentle waves toward an uninhabited enclave
where we would turn From Here to Eternity
in the mood-light moonlight,
tongues swollen from traipsing the length of our skins,
& over white wine & oysters on your decadent yacht,
suggest how we really ought to get away like this more often.
Julie Marie Wade holds a Master of Arts in English from Western Washington University and a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been awarded the Chicago Literary Award in Poetry (2004), the Gulf Coast Nonfiction Prize (2004), the Oscar Wilde Poetry Prize (2005), The Literal Latte Nonfiction Prize (2006), and a Pushcart Prize nomination (2005). Her work appears or is forthcoming in Diner, Cimarron Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Gulf Coast Journal of Literature and Fine Art, The King’s English: Journal of Long Prose, Third Coast, Spoon River Review, Denver Quarterly, The Cream City Review, Southeast Review, Dogwood, Literal Latte, Nimrod, Red Rock Review, and Off the Rocks: Journal of Queer Memoir. She teaches Women’s Studies at Carlow University.
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