Hilary Plum

Because I am a woman no weapon
has been named for me. Not even shrapnel.

I am a woman, you touch
one breast at a time

Thank you.

I picked the buckshot from my teeth and you
hung the head on your wall
We'd spent a long time
stuffing it to mount
with some things we thought we weren't using
I offered petticoats and you watched
In the neighborhood there were children

opening doors to find flowers white-faced toward sun like that

I let lilacs be
beaten into scent by rain

No, my cheekbones
hurt with trying for goddesses
to be born of the curve of my skull
was it the curve of your skull

I am a woman and you came home

mint grew by itself by the fence
I didn't know what to do with it

birds came
and hunters
we made tea just with sun and water

and you steeped in me, yes, like that

I didn't know how to make the gun sounds

I dropped Kalashnikovs in to cool
watched how the sun

no, the rain

the ground smelled of it and deer grazed
on me I guess
I'd been standing too long
watching to see where it was
they stepped over
the fence

I am a woman, you poured a drink
she uses two hands

I use one hand
two to shift the gears of the truck I learned to drive in
stopping on the hill where the church
was white in the dark
not for a deer on the road or a fawn even
but I stalled and my feet were mildewing
down by the pedals and my skirt
creeping up when I bent down to place
the toes back on the pedals one by one

It takes six beers to get drunk, she said
from under her eye shadow

she was wrong
her boots came up to the neck on me

I put them back in the cupboard

I had filled the pockets of all the aprons with pills
a joke between us

but then the birds found them

you left the barn door open

it's OK, I said, there will be more children

I was a woman and you were responsible

Thank you. The glass clinked on teeth
Honey ran under my arches along the border
the next war would start on

I tried it myself

but then my belly
was swelling with letters
from you I guess I hadn't answered

my hand flat on the ground