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The friend

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We sat across the table.
he said, cut off your hands.
they are always poking at things.
they might touch me.
I said yes.

Food grew cold on the table.
he said, burn your body.
it is not clean and smells like sex.
it rubs my mind sore.
I said yes.

I love you, I said.
That’s very nice, he said
I like to be loved,
that makes me happy.
Have you cut off your hands yet?

Marge Piercy, “The friend” from Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982). First appeared in Hanging Loose 5 (1968). Copyright © 1968, 1982 by Marge Piercy and Middlemarsh, Inc. Used by permission of the Wallace Literary Agency, Inc.
Source: Circles on the Water (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992)
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The friend

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