I want to say it's a banana or a potato
being peeled, the slow curl and reveal,
but such a bland yellow thing.

I want to say it's a shirt from a drawer,
a billow of purple and Bounce,
but it's sweat and crumple in a pile.

I want to say it's a virgin's fantasy first, 
soft hall light and Harlequin,
tender and gasp as they keen and grasp.

I say tender but mean tinder:
a birch tree stripped of its bark,
doused with Match Light, flame exposed.

I say exposed but mean explode:
a shrapnel of four martinis,
a face reflected as pale and abhor.

When I say abhor I mean whore,
for FICA and retirement,
food and rent.

When I say rent I mean rend.
When I say rend I mean rend.

 – Previously published at Steam Ticket (2016) and Watermelon Isotope (2017) 

Cathryn Cofell is a UWEC grad who now resides in Appleton. Her latest collection, Stick Figure with Skirt, in which this poem appeared, was awarded the 2019 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award and released in November 2019.  Reprinted with permission of the author’ More about Cathryn: https://www.cathryncofell.com/


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