diode v9n1



If the Girl Wears the Man’s Green Shirt

The orderly confiscates glass
vials of face lotion, nail
polish, the girl wanting to look
her best when she swirls down
the drain, stockpiling
meds in the pocket of the man’s
shirt she stole

for company. Hammered
turtles smashed to green
clay smithereens before dinner
where they watch
her every move as if a plastic
knife could cause the mayhem
she’s after. Lights
out. The girl naked

in the windowed sky, eyelashes studded
with stars blinding her
in the buzz of air
conditioning her to act
like a girl who doesn’t steal
or stab or slit or fuck. They want her

to forget but she remembers
the way the men came one
after one after
one pounding motel
doors, waves churning
at her ankles, her knees,
her neck. Flat

on her back she evaporates in salty
perfunctory kisses
spinning her brain
until she staggers at the feet of
the man, the man, the man
who wraps her in kudzu—

dense and thick.


If the Girl Prepares to Feed a Cannibal in a Dark Alley

The girl crams her pockets
with bullets, one grenade, two
cubes of sugar. She sticks needles
under her fingernails. She eats
razors for breakfast, disjoints
her shoulders for lunch, but can’t
decide what to kill for dinner.

Fog from the Gulf loosens
bricks, whole walls crumbling
toward her body, her bare
soles stumbling through spent
condoms, bells from dead
cats, beaks of ravaged birds,
reflections from windows,
silhouetted shades
casting neon tints of distorted
desire . . . she follows the scent
of his shadow . . . the way

she sniffed glue in nursery, licked
crayons in first grade, and wore
her dress and under-
pants inside out. She chewed every
other page of superhero comic
books: half as strong as Wonder
Woman, is strong enough.

But the girl could take
his hand and show him
love, whisper in his blue
eyes as she feeds him
the sugar, raw. The girl’s heart
is this big, bigger than
this, deeper than
that . . . it is a ferocious delicacy,
one she must
resist giving to him,
despite the fact she has,
she thinks, no other
use for it.  


Sue William Silverman’s poetry collection is Hieroglyphics in Neon (Orchises Press). She is also the author of three memoirs. Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs award in creative nonfiction. Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction (W. W. Norton) was also made into a Lifetime TV movie. Her most recent book, The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew (University of Nebraska Press), was a finalist in Foreword Review’s IndieFab Book of the Year Award. Sue teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. For more information please visit www.SueWilliamSilverman.com.