Cocktails with Orpheus

By Terrance Hayes b. 1971 Terrance Hayes Read the Q & A
After dark, the bar full of women part of me loves—the part that stood
naked outside the window of Miss Geneva, recent divorcée who owned
a gun, O Miss Geneva where are you now—Orpheus says she did

not perish, she was not turned to ash in the brutal light, she found
a good job, she made good money, she had her own insurance and
a house, she was a decent wife. I know descent lives in the word

decent. The bar noise makes a kind of silence. When Orpheus hands
me his sunglasses, I see how fire changes everything. In the mind
I am behind a woman whose skirt is hiked above her hips, as bound

as touch permits, saying don't forget me when I become the liquid
out of which names are born, salt-milk, milk-sweet and animal-made.

I want to be a human above the body, uprooted and right, a fold
of pleas released, but I am a black wound, what's left of the deed.

Source: Poetry (March 2008).


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Poet Terrance Hayes b. 1971

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Mythology & Folklore, Heroes & Patriotism, Greek & Roman Mythology