The Art of Tetman Callis Poems the gorgon aphrodite

the gorgon aphrodite

twice in ten days, in neighborhoods five miles
apart, the same woman has approached me
on the streets. frantic, animated, hell-bent
on death, her cheeks ravaged, her breasts high and firm
underneath her nondescript shirts, her entire
being a suppressed scream of junkie and whore,
i paid no attention to the details
of her story. it’s always the same story.
i’ve flirted with enough bad company
to have heard it a time or two before,
though maybe never from a woman whose
breasts appeared so enticing. her waist was
narrow, too, comely and not too narrow,
her hips of good proportion, her butt nicely
rounded. too bad about the rest of her.

the second time she stopped me to pitch her
petition, she showed no sign of remembering
the first time. i didn’t choose to remind her,
but i gave her five dollars for whatever
it was she needed. she asked me my name.
i told her we’re all the same. and we are,
but we are not. she insisted on shaking
my hand. i didn’t tell her the most
important thing she could do would be to
die. i shook her hand, then washed my
hands as soon as i could.

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