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Loving the Enemy

By Caits Meissner

of course there were     gaps            I kept my eyes 
shuddered up                       my    curiosities                strapped   
amnesia   on   as a mask                    but only        the dead do not dream.      
Under sleep's warm drug, you    appeared twisted    hovering above 
a torso    a weapon             taut between teeth              weapon of flesh 
I blamed the visions on      the third wine            sugar before sleep
the pills    that knocked into    slack oblivion               but     I knew
in the core of my body's earth it was your fists          thick     as dogs 
running   towards a body               that resembled        my own 
the warm bullet      between your legs    blasting a woman in two

                                 (then tumbling me down a brush fire born of love)

now you've been seared off me    like a tick            blood thirsty       
they called you                    in the paper       dangerous
what does it say about me         that my heart cannot stop 
Singing                  towards you        like a church choir breaking
light through dark clouds you still open      a portal in me
gentle-pawed in our bed                 a nub of fur             pink tongue
this is what they say          about women       who love men
on the 5 o'clock news       that we are crazy     and I know
it's true              for some of us, it's in the DNA
as a child I kept a rat         alive in a shoebox       lined
with paper towels  I  hummed it against my chest
as it wrapped its tail around my young nipple     crazy  
sure, say it again               but who else would look at an animal
the world names    ugly                   and still choose  to suckle it

                                 with their own hands?

Added: Friday, September 8, 2017  /  Used with permission.
Caits Meissner

Caits Meissner is the author of the hybrid poetry book Let It Die Hungry (The Operating System, 2016), and The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You (Well&Often, 2012), co-written with poet Tishon Woolcock. The recipient of multiple artist residencies and fellowships, including the BOAAT Writers Retreat and The Pan-African Literary Forum, Caits is widely published in literary journals including The Literary Review, Narrative, Adroit, Drunken Boat, and The Offing. Caits teaches at The New School University and The City College of New York, where she holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and was awarded The Jerome Lowell DeJur Prize in Creative Writing, an Educational Enrichment Award and The Teacher-Writer Award. She has worked extensively in public schools, prisons and other community venues bridging social justice and art. Please visit her website.

Other poems by this author