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they get / shipped / somewhere / they can’t / upset the / elderly

THE PRETTIEST ONES

one time outside
in the spring, bbq
over, hands mopped
of butter, bbq,
he read me the
song of solomon
because he knew
i liked pretty words
and these were
the prettiest ones
he’d ever read,
teeth like sheep,
he said, what
beauty, his blue
eyes always
too close to mine,
expecting some
affection i never
could act out.
as soon as he was
saying them, i wanted
them sucked back
in, i wanted them undone,
wow ok or something
mundane i said. but he
kept pointing at them,
i politely pretended to
read them again, silently,
sliding eyes over
the page, where his
finger stayed, teeth
like sheep, why
was that beautiful,
why was that
what he wanted, is
that what he
wanted for me.

WOMEN WHO ARE TRYING TO SINK

on the phone
mom says
this is
common,
for men
to be
sequestered
from women
as they
recline
into the fog
of dementia,
no longer
tethered
to politesse
or civility,
or what they
would call
chivalry,
faded to
the sidewalk
hoot-holler,
the catcall
of any
female
nurse,
doctor,
waitress,
friend,
relative.
for everyone’s
safety and
comfort,
they get
shipped
somewhere
they can’t
upset the
elderly
women who
are trying
to sink, at
last, into the
endless fog
of it
themselves,
unattached,
unattacked.

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