Two Poems – April Ranger

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Self-Portrait as an Outlet, Or, Woman Too Much
		After Jeffrey McDaniel


You might look at me 
and see a kind 

of human face, two eyes above 
a round, shocked mouth.

I tell you, I am all mouths.

They come, they stick things
in me. They come, they search.

I am so needed, for one
use. Lord, that I had a tongue, 

three tongues for all this crowded
howling speech.

When it’s dark, and the room is empty,
no plugs, no clumsy device,

I can breathe, yes, in and out and in.
Relief. There is madness, though,

a thick, slow madness before one 
comes with needs, long wires, prods,

something to shut me up, or fill me, 
help me do what I was made to do.




My Name Is Not The Cruelest Month


It’s always men who dust off that old quote. 
Not All Men.  But you know. The ex-boyfriend, the well-read 

silver-haired customer tugging at my apron while my hands 
are stacked with plates. The only thing I can say definitively 

about T. S. Eliot is that we never met. If you met me, 
you might call me Open, which is also a meaning of April. 

Abril, I prefer the Spanish way, the rolled R, 
the real, sounds like a wheel down a dirt road.

If you met me, you’d know 
                   I am a dirt road

                  & the wild flowers’ ragged edge: Queen Anne’s Lace, goldenrod, 
                  the clover’s purple blossom, the turtle’s belly dragging through dust.

If you’ve ever seen an opening in a forest where sunlight 
                               pours & pours, you know my name.

If you’ve ever opened your palm wide as it could stretch
while a cat or dog muzzled its head for more 
                           & more, you know my name.

If you’ve ever opened the tiny door in a restaurant bathroom
that said Do Not Open and it was only filled with toilet paper
& soap but it thrilled you anyway, 
                       you know my name.

If you’ve opened the front of your shirt button by button
when it was so cold your breath was a cloud, but those hands, 
those warm hands, 
                    yes, you know my name.

If you’ve slit the envelope so fast it tore the letter,
                                                you know my name.

When I was twenty I found my father’s high school diary
in the attic & yes, I opened it & read it 
                                               & this is also my name

& maybe it was wrong, but it helped me love him better
                                                        & this is also my name,

the sound of curtains sliding past, that shing along the rod
                                           & sudden breeze on your skin

                                                                & rain, of course,
                                                          I will answer to Rain.


About April Ranger

April Ranger is a Brooklyn-based poet and playwright. View all posts by April Ranger

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