Trash & Bones
ONE. When she teeters into the bar, this bone-jutted woman,
do not pocket your wedding ring.
TWO. Do not mistake her
for something the cat dragged in, a dead
moth, sunken-cheeked and thigh-gapped.
And do not let the barman sweep her
into the dust bin. It could take her hours
to wake up, wipe off her crumbs,
find someone sturdy, lonely, and mean.
When she smashes into your table and oozes
onto your booth like a snowball slightly off target
do not try to catch her. She will burst if you touch
her and she will make your skin sting.
THREE. When her pickup breaks down tonight,
do not reduce your speed. Do not take a look under
her hood. She will find the cut off sleeves,
the wife beaters, to lift her home. She will find brown,
callused paws on her tiny bent back,
scratching, grunting. Don’t stop! Don’t stop
FOUR. Don’t let her catch you
FIVE. Don’t think about her days off,
when her kids wake up to nothing
in the fridge and she's always out
of milk, always making compromises.
Water and corn flakes.
Butter and black coffee.
Cigarettes and time.
SIX. Even if she could drive
right out of this town, to "a big city
like Wichita," she will still beg for change like,
I wish I were, I wish I might…
Please. I need –please, sir, I need…
SEVEN. If she looks you in your eyes,
do not adjust your collar,
and do not let yourself crumble into her lap
and weep. She will know
how to hold you and she will taste
of mother’s milk.
EIGHT. Do not fool yourself.
If she were fixable she wouldn't be this knocked up,
beat up, "used to be, daddy's little girl"
whose bones have always jutted.
Sea Sharp is a Creative Writing and Literature graduate of Kansas State University with forthcoming work published in Coe Review, Storm Cellar, Flyover Country Review, NEAT and elsewhere. Sharp is an American vegan who immigrated to Great Britain.