Christine Degenaars Outside The Grey Dog In Chelsea

I am not as beautiful
as I think I am.

Remembering the last time
I was here

and a guy, now gone
who came the way summer

songs do, rustling
my insides out of me.

Nothing turns me ugly
like a man. Walking past

16th street, I’m in love
with the illusion

of things: April’s false
spring and the feeling

that I could, if I wanted,
reach down

any boy’s throat
and pull out what I have

waited so long to own.
There’s something pretty

in burrowing
into bone, the depraved

crouching down
in the marrow

the way soldiers do,
taking cover in the glitter

of ambush.
And I am angry

at the sunflowers,
lingering near the traffic light

because they’re older
than me and lovely

and don’t breathe foul
lipstick breath, or sleep

with their mouths open and
damp. They’re never dreaming

of the bodies
they’ve known, stacked

like splintered driftwood,
their faces, mirrors of their

own faces, indiscriminate
and aging and blank.


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