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Christine Taylor

Savage, Beautiful Creature

“Consider that eye: consider the resolute, wild, free thing looking out of it,
defying me, with more than courage--with a stern triumph. Whatever I do
with its cage, I cannot get at it--the savage, beautiful creature!”

--from Jane Eyre

Tonight, the moon is trapped behind clouds
      as twilight gives way to dark. Stars and streetlights
illume the road, cast shadows across asphalt. The day’s heat hangs,
so I’ve left the windows open.
I’m waiting for a call.

Tonight, he will tell me he has a right
to affection                         & remind me why he left his ex-wife
& he has a right to open communication                  & I need to learn how to talk about my feelings
  & he keeps telling me       & he keeps telling. . .

Tonight, he will say he deserves
a better partner than me:
I don’t compliment                     & I’m too loud               & I don’t conform
& I should go find someone else.

[Who is ever who they used to be?]

There is so much noise.

He’s yelling & the windows are open & the phone is hot against my ear. . .

The scent of night wafts, tangles in wild curls.
Moonlight now ruptures the sky.
          A door opens.

I’ve been practicing for this moment:
      a rumbling in the gut that blooms
its way up through my throat,
arrives as a full field of violets.

    & then the beautiful quiet.

Landscape with Knives

A knife got stuck in the silverware drawer, the tip of the blade
at an odd angle caught on the roof of the cabinet. I slid my finger
into the narrow opening to try to clear the obstruction.
You insisted I move out of your way, let you fix the problem,
and you tugged at the drawer with no apparent plan except sheer force.
I spent good money on those cabinets, feared the crack
that signals broken.

It occurred to me then how careless you are with so many things--
hasty shopping decisions that most often lead to returns,
fumbling with the radio knob while driving us down an icy hill.

But those are just the little things that readily come to mind,
gauze stuffed in a wound that gapes:

How free you are with words, a talker by your estimation
one who prefers to be direct, straightforward.
And you have told me straight-up that I need to learn how to conform
that I can’t be mad when people stare
at what I’ve done to my body
at this body I’ve been given
the skull on my chest
    on my brown chest
and I need to understand
the trouble other people have
the trouble other people [you] have. . .

I’d rather the sure blade of a butcher’s knife to cleave me in two
over these words that slice
fine as papercuts, the recurring sting.

In the end I took care of the drawer, dislodged the knife
with a pair of disposable wooden chopsticks. You reminded me
that I think I have all the answers,
which is funny because typically I don’t think I have any answers,
only this time I do.

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