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Five or Six Things I Know For Sure


I know how to milk cows and make friends,
how to shake cream between my hands until
it turns to butter and then share it,
sweet and salted,
on bread on buns on tongues.
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I know that grapes turn to wine turn to
soft tongues and soft lips, but I don’t know
how any of that happens.
Chemistry wasn’t my strong suit.
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I know how to love wholly, unconditionally,
without reserve and without conserving
even a drop of it. Squeeze my heart like a sponge
and you’ll get sponge and heart and more tears
than you can drink in a whole year.
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I know how to quench your thirst.
I know how to make you thirsty,
wanton, wanting, heat lust between
your thighs between sheets between
you and me and this skin that we borrow
to cover us.
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I know that after the heat, there is a car
and some ice and a ditch.
I know you are supposed to look
at where you want the car to go,
not at where it’s actually going.
I know that I always, always
look at the ditch.
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I know that having a stolen road sign
in the back seat is a bad idea
but that it’s a really bad idea when
there are icy roads and I forgot
to not look at the ditch and now
I’m upside down in it, roof beneath.
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I know how to hold on. Tight.
I know how to let go. Free.
It is not like riding a bike.
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There is no bike in this poem,
although I can do that too.
Round and round is my favorite place to go
some days and the way my thighs ache
beneath tight black pants, the strength
of pushing through, isn’t something
I’m supposed to talk about.
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I know I loved you, up hill and down.
I know that it’s my fault. Or my choice.
I know those are the same things when
you get to the top and see the whole view.
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I don’t know where I go from here
or whose body will carry me, singing.
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About Poem-A-Day: For the month of April (National Poetry Month), I’ve signed on to write a poem-a-day (eeks!). To make it slightly easier on myself, my rules are that I have to write each poem in fifteen minutes or less, and that I have to post it here on the blog as soon as I’m done. No edits. Just rough. Raw. Right out of the gate. (Of course, if you’re playing along, I hope you’ll post a link to your poem in the comments here — mainly because I’m selfish and I want to read them!)

About This Poem: The inspiration for this poem came about from two things. One, I’m starting work on my Chapter 38 blog and was thinking about all the things we already know how to do and the things that we don’t. Two, I’ve been reading Dorothy Alison’s book, “Two or Three Things I Know For Sure,” and the title came directly from there.

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