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What I Told the Cops

I slept in a study & woke in a kitchen. Yes,

Every night from when I showed up. Showing up

Is half the battle & better ready than fed. So I can

Close the zipper on my skirt all the way, I hold my

Tongue. Sure, take a look around—you’ve all the fixings of

A confession: spinning wheel, long wooden matches, long

Sleep, rough mattresses, gold & hair, golden-haired beauty,

Dark beauty, strewn shoes, apples to apples, so much dust

To dust. The house ran a touch hot, is how I’d say it.

Yes, there was two of me. The other was an infernal

Lightweight, so pulped with fear, couldn’t stomach

Any of it, like gagging on an aspirin, a rush of spit

To the tongue, a giving of the throat. We spoke

In double cross; it all was very hush-hush. That one

Got gone, second chance she got. Oh, what I can’t

Tell you, it’s eating me up inside. My stomach burns

With love for her—my eternal bad. I’m asking you

For real: how does anyone know when they’re good

& ready? I’m saying, butter don’t melt in this mouth—would that

It were true—but it softens, long as I tell it to. I was taken in,

Once. Once upon a time, I was prep. I worked a line. I was

Back of the house. Sugar, there’s two kinds: the ones that dull

Their knives in a second drawer & the ones that mise-en-

Place them on a counter. My work, it earns stars. Be my guest,

Check my complexion for a last known address; check my

Oven scorch for downfall. My best evidence jilts me still.

from Neck of the WoodsFind more by Amy Woolard at the library

Copyright © 2020 Amy Woolard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Amy Woolard Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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