by Marty McConnell
at least your pimp has a name, a neck
you could put your two good hands around.
he loves you like all men love
what they sell, what comes back
in gold. make no mistake, my God
was a man: men with their mouths
at the entrance to the cave, whispering,
men dripping hallucinogens into the milk,
men insisting lead us, lead us, have this horse
this sword this sentence this pyre. men naked
under their robes, their armor, their teeth
bartering my skin for their country, a cause
I would have sworn was mine.
Cleo and I place bets on women like you.
from this distance, your dance looks like ours.
and Vashti’s, and Salomé’s, and Helen’s,
and you’re acquainted with the Magdalene.
our mythical knees locked or spread,
bringing men to theirs and us to the gallows
the tower the stake / trade your corset for a habit
and they’ll hate you all the same: whatever cannot
be possessed is poison. the body is never bought
but rented which is why he wants your heart, bound
like feet, dancing only for him.
let me tell you something about possession: never
let a man dictate your wingspan or your footwear.
there’s a god on every corner and not one
would have you mortgage your given body
for this man and his fur-lined tongue. don’t think
I don’t know about love; more goes unreported
in history than in myth. sell your story, Natalia,
before they scrape it from under your fingernails
as evidence / cut your hair. buy a building
in Brooklyn. lay down on a bed of teeth, alone.
peel back their fingerprints one by one, each incision
the hot face of a god, unfolding.