Jan/Feb 2002 Poetry Special Feature


by Tara Brever



Mother thought Neptune
when she first saw me.
She meant my eyes, bottomless
and violet, my only pretty things,
but that's when she crossed
over and left me as an alien.

Babies only have a coating
of hair when they're inside, it's like extra
armor, but you're special
and then, for the first time
when I was five, Gramma Sylvie
smoothed me normal,
shaved everything until my armor
was blood and my hands and feet
my only shield. We hide those
because they're more like paws
than anything else.

I have learned the language
of ordinary feet,
but mine won't tell their tales.
They're those dead men,
those gunshy ghosts,
but they always betray me.

The night after I'd started
to bleed in the bad place, Gramma
Sylvie left me her Bible splayed
open with our razor blade,
left those on the kitchen table
and left out the back door.
I think Leviticus mentions apes,
and that their hands
and feet are just a dance
apart, just variations
of each other, and that's
what makes them wicked.

Maybe today I'll stop shaving,
scraping and covering,
and let all those chalk-pretty
girls come up to see
Neptune the mountain freak
whose mamma musta humped a monkey

and then run bleating because
I'm hardly a girl anymore.

Maybe its just evolution
that I'm leaving for good,
and maybe the stream-reflection
of my eyes is true: those irises
have always just been imagined,
just hoped for,
like how your mind burns
friendlier things into the darkness.


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