Sure, it’s all Chekhov this and Chekhov that,
and I am far from the only one
to keep myself up at night
thinking about his gun,
but the man was a dreamboat,
gray eyes and smirking beard
and lips—those lips. The kind of man who,
if he were now alive at the age he died,
would walk into the party, see me,
slide his eyes over the temperate steppe of my body,
and then talk to my pretty friend.
Better for us both then that he’s dead.
I’ve been rejected in two centuries, lonely
in millennia, pride of my generation.
This old story. Women who like men
love them until the men are holes
and the women turn back to bone.
Every time a man left me, I burned
something I loved until I was left
with only the gear knob of a Dodge Omni
and wine stains round my mouth.
Maybe that is not all true, or quite true,
or true in the way that you want. All I know
is that we do not have to have a thing
to lose it. I mourn the children
I am too sad to have, and the disappointment
of the lover I am too tired to take.
All day I feel them, their ghost limbs’ need
and heat, the echo of their bodies
against my teeth—absences expanding inside me
like the flower behind a bullet,
the blood inside a lung.