poem index

Mostly Mick Jagger

Catie Rosemurgy
               1

Thank god he stuck his tongue out.
When I was twelve I was in danger 
of taking my body seriously. 
I thought the ache in my nipple was priceless. 
I thought I should stay very still 
and compare it to a button, 
a china saucer, 
a flash in a car side-mirror, 
so I could name the ache either big or little, 
then keep it forever. He blew no one a kiss, 
then turned into a maw.

After I saw him, when a wish moved in my pants.
I nurtured it. I stalked around my room
kicking my feet up just like him, making
a big deal of my lips. I was my own big boy.
I wouldn't admit it then,
but be definitely cocks his hip
as if he is his own little girl.

               2

People ask me--I make up interviews
while I brush my teeth--"So, what do you remember best 
about your childhood?" I say
mostly the drive toward Chicago.
Feeling as if I'm being slowly pressed against the skyline. 
Hoping to break a window.
Mostly quick handfuls of boys' skin.
Summer twilights that took forever to get rid of.
Mostly Mick Jagger. 

               3

How do I explain my hungry stare?
My Friday night spent changing clothes?
My love for travel? I rewind the way he says "now" 
with so much roof of the mouth.
I rewind until I get a clear image of myself:
I'm telling the joke he taught me
about my body. My mouth is stretched open 
so I don't laugh. My hands are pretending
to have just discovered my own face. 
My name is written out in metal studs 
across my little pink jumper.
I've got a mirror and a good idea
of the way I want my face to look.
When I glance sideways my smile should twitch 
as if a funny picture of me is taped up 
inside the corner of my eye.
A picture where my hair is combed over each shoulder, 
my breasts are well-supported, and my teeth barely show. 
A picture where I'm trying hard to say "beautiful."

He always says "This is my skinny rib cage, 
my one, two chest hairs."
That's all he ever says. 
Think of a bird with no feathers
or think of a hundred lips bruising every inch of his skin.
There are no pictures of him hoping
he said the right thing.

Copyright © 2001 by Catie Rosemurgy. Reprinted from My Favorite Apocalypse with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Catie Rosemurgy

by this poet

poem
The arch in the bridge. The moment of architecture. 
The island where you lost your mother's keys. The photo she sent
of someone who looks like her walking to the point 
where the land becomes reminiscent of dissolving of flesh. 
The trees stamped onto our minds like traumas 
are supposed to be. The frightening
poem
Pretty girl. The weather has knocked her down again
and given her to the lake to wear as a skin.

Why am I always being the weather?
There were days in the winter
when her smile was so lovely I felt
the breathing of my own goodness, 

though it remained fetal and separate.
I was a scavenger who survives

with a
poem
What is red and singing on the inside, gray and moaning on the outside?
(The opera house)

What is green, damp, and stuck between the forest's teeth? 
(The doctor)

What drags on the floor and catches fire? 
What reveals the girl's legs while destroying them? 
(The afternoon sun) 

What grows tall, blocks the