S u s a n   L e w i s

T H E   O T H E R

The other man has eyes like aspic.
The other woman has appetite tattooed around her navel—

(as Nature needs luck
to reap refinement from loss).

The other man knows things he can’t remember.
The other woman reads eye contact like sex—

(or a bird which rolls rival eggs
in water & sand).

The other man is learning how to purr.
The other woman’s skin soothes like chocolate—

(while joy, that quantum devil,
is reached with slack hands & closed lids).

The other man hoards anomie in case he needs it.
The other woman imbibes a book of yesterdays—

(while powerful & powerless
speak one private language).

The other man stores sorrow like riches.
The other woman keeps patience to herself.

R A T T L E S N A K E   ( L U C K Y   S T R I K E )

That is, any code you feel
driven to decipher—

these rocks like stepping stones
for your leggy imagination,

their overbites mouthing
the needy & the secretive.

When the snow melts,
your opinion of me rises.

Later your regard dries up
and I am left with the hot, dry rocks

and their sibylline, hot-cold,
juiced-up tenants.

You want me to know
they carry pearls in their cheeks.
You want me know
I carry moons behind my eyes,

like anyone, like everyone
who wants to tease

vehemence from venom.
Now there are places I must explore.

There are scales to stroke,
despite the probabilities.