On the Erotics of Deployment
I’ll build an altar
to the tiny flecks fallen from his razor,
the pair of coveralls crumpled near the bed,
the history of war he left unread.
The Goddess of Impermanence
will be evicted from my home. In Her absence,
I will exhibit art
composed of my vestigial parts,
my breasts the centerpiece
to this display. I will be all of Greece
and Italy. I will forget about my skin
and the awful need for friction,
how often I’m an empty plate.
Or else, I won’t forget but only tolerate
neglect. Some wives prefer
to wait along the pier, green glitter
on their eyes, their bodies wrapped in scarlet.
I’ll try to be the harlot
that I want to be,
Bathsheba gleaming on the balcony,
Susannah combing tangles from her hair.
I will prepare
myself for him, a feast, a holy sacrifice.
I’ll be the fruit kept edible on ice.
Previously published by the Women's Review of Books. Excerpted from Stateside, Northwestern University Press, 2010