Whatever you Paid for That Sweater, It was Worth It

Be scared of yourself
The real self
Is very scary.
It is a man
But more importantly
The man is tall
And is everything in you that is an absolute reverse of all your actions.
In you he will do things and in you no one will know the difference
Still the honey and the herb, the bright lights.

The piece of fiscal fish, the lemons,
The blank above with stars will praise you
But he, he puts his legs over frail women
And tries to get to the thing they won’t give up.
Just as true loneliness gets to the very real thing in you
Scary or not, is part man for all it is wanting and can’t get
To the place where it has married woman, it sits
In a sea of lemons, its tail dragged bloody across the floor.

Still, here I do not speak of mutilation.
The real self is not muddy, it is pure
Still here it is a thing of murder
The self comes off itself and murders the woman in its path
Her skirts effortlessly careening back there up into the stars.

–Dorothea Lasky

This poem is from Lasky’s volume, Awe. I’ve written here about another of Lasky’s publications, Poetry is Not a Project. Her work is new to me, but I’m digging in and loving the spade work of discovery. This one grabbed me right around the midsection on first reading. It traces many of my personal themes, and does so deftly. Phrases from this poem are still singing inside, like “fiscal fish,” and “it sits/In a sea of lemons, its tail dragged bloody across the floor.”