1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. Cocktails with Orpheus by Terrance Hayes
Cocktails with Orpheus

Related Poem Content Details

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)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the March 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Cocktails with Orpheus

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information