To Observers of My Composure
I stand this way because I am a singer,
performing from velvet shoulders—back—
because when I was thirteen I learned
that I look thinner —though taller—when erect,
but I’m willing to make the trade.
I sit this way because a lady in a dress is a lady.
This woman in this dress knows that
first you’ll think my waters run dry, basins of
a body that must have been made for filling,
despite the stream you can’t envision that cut
these beds, unless I sit up straight.
I speak this way because a measured sentence
settles nicely in the ear, respects the faculties
of listeners and slides off the tongue in
satisfying precision. The time to say
enigma and puzzle is almost the same,
but only one means what I mean.
Because you hear my slipping “s” sounds
when I’m tired. You think it’s sexy, but
I try and can't believe you.
I stand and sit and speak this way
because I’m afraid of you, of what you’ll do
when you find me slouching, quiet, empty—
a glass of fine champagne left broken
on this marble terrace, where the pedestal
cracked and fell.
I’m afraid of you, and
I don’t want you to know.)