Because of the men I’ve had
I’m no longer white.
The Botticelli impressions of milky skin no longer apply;
the florid pulse of their pigment has coloured me like a suntan.
Each one of my lovers inhabits a shelf of my memory
like Russian dolls, one inside the other, symmetrical.
The dark Island boys on the Tropic of Cancer, the easily heated
the Carob Indians with pale eyes…Reticient as an army,
I am the Goddess of Love who only cries out during the moments
it takes for flesh to rub against flesh. Then I am silent. Only
when my lovers were gone did I admit the girlish flutter of irregular
heartbeat, my keen observation of flesh design. They never knew
I cared. They never knew.
Long suffering? I’ve never been that kind of woman.
I am the librarian who catalogues each mistake in alphabetical
order. A is for the absinthe that clouded Ares’ mind, Z
is the blood of jealous rage spilled on my zebra-skin rug. Predisposed
to discontent, I took my men like vitamins.
Not for me the Vitamin A amount so heavy it’s toxic blind.
No crying in the bottom of my martini glass, while wearing high-necked
dresses. I absorbed the nutrition of their cultures, the various
beauty, and left them with the speed of midday clouds.
For 3 months, each one of them tried to find me, in turn
as my skin grew darker & I hid among the trees
like a mythical savage.