The Mothers

We meet—sometimes—between the dry hours,
Between clefts in the involuntary plan,
Refusing to think of rent or food—how
Civic the slick to satisfied from man.

And Democratic. A Lucky Strike each, we
Sponge each other off, while what's greyed
In and grey slinks ashamed down the drain.
No need to articulate great restraint,

No need to see each other's mouth lip
The obvious. Giddy. Fingers garnished
With fumes of onions and garlic, I slip
Back into my shift, then watch her hands—wordless—

Reattach her stockings to the martyred
Rubber moons wavering at her garter.

Robin Coste Lewis, "The Mothers" from Voyage of the Sable Venus. Copyright © 2015 by Robin Coste Lewis. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015)
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