Nights of Desirable Objects

Kara Dorris

My mother always said, we make the truth we choose to believe.

Summers, we sunbathed at the lake of new names.

Cabin-lost & lonely, called it tanning,             fishing with our bodies.

We would cast & bait, sometimes for rainbow trout or flounder,

                                     for mermaids or the co-conspired lies we believe in.

But I always reeled in box turtles — again & again,

my Blue Foxy Jigs gashed their lips.      & I’m convinced

I only seduced the same turtle, over & over, his mouth a bloody pit.

We poured ourselves into those lures —

                 Rebel Pop-Rs, KO Wobblers, Zoom Tricks —

                          the need of skin, mutually exclusive desires, the mirror —

Sometimes we baited the night,

the stretch of darker-than-it-has-a-right-to-be cedar pines,

nail polished the steps, left our panties on the clothesline,

left razor blades like teeth, unwashed & dripping,

                                                razor blades plague-built & rust-caked.

We shaved every day, but no one came, so we let our armpits grow

as thick & dark as pines,

              skin soft as the pit inside apricots,

                                        slept where we fell on the porch in cots.

Some days we buried ourselves to mask our scents,

              forgot it is easier to die than to remember,

                                        so to remember we pretended to die.

Some nights we did not agree on what lure to leave out at all —

Grave Digger, Storm Wild-Eye, Swedish Pimple —

                          a husband’s affair, an I hate you moment, a cut brake line —


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