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.
March 18, 2015