local_library Dauntless

by Allison Jenks

Published in Issue No. 4 ~ July, 1996

Four spells backward I was
Candidly winking at you.
Callow and wearing too many movies.
I thought sex was a slanderous kind of thing-
A tactful camisado of perfumes and tongue
where I’d try to breathe quieter than you.

You’d get me down, see me naked
and decide how much ghost
you were gonna play with.
You’d guess I liked the bottom
for too deep a reason like it was
because I got assigned to back of the class
in eighth grade homeroom.

Really, I just like the shading
and my hair hung better there.

I let you think those things so
you don’t realize it if I’m not happy
with my footballish thighs and the sex.

I’d rather you’d think there was
some childhood obstacle I have
yet to tackle, at least you feel
Power-driven to hunt that
Dark side of me and work there
like a spiritual nurse
with a lantern and your tools.

Should I still be planning
our relationship like this?

Am I getting sick of knowing
what I’m thinking but
pretending that I don’t
Look up your ego and send you
searching in circles for answers to me.

I like it that you even want to look
But how would I know that you would
have looked anyway.
As long as this succeeds this
love-fleeting world and your
neurosistic-originated temptations
I’ll keep you erect as tactfully as I can.

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Allison Jenks' poems have appeared in : New Orleans Review, Art Times, Wisconsin Review, American Literary Review, and Midwest Poetry Review. She was a James A. Michener fellow, awarded by John Balaban, at the University of Miami's M.F.A. program, where she was Editor In Chief of Mangrove.