Always Messing with them Boys
Jessica Helen Lopez             

An Offering to the Lover Who Will Leave for Mexico City
(Five Movements in a Matter of Weeks)

I.I took you as a lover
bore you like a child
I bit the leather between the teeth
grit my thighs together and squeezed you from me

like Athenstomached from the head of Zeus
I cleaved you from my skull

you repaid me

sly smiles lit from boyish charm and free spirit
such a young winged-thing, you!

the leather bracelets that hug your wrists
is what did me in
that and how you took your whiskey

silver rings wrapped around the thick fingers
of your flighty pianist hands
my gaze leapt from your face to the vibrancy of those hands

you were too soon.

I gazed with a jealous eye
let you go before I owned you
knowing that I could destroy you

these, my bevy of bad habits.

I pitied myself then and hid my face
the benign Medusa

the Mercurial Me
the sleepy housewife

I have not yet molted.
you were too good to me
my heart much too heavy and Atlas
himself could not grunt this work

your feet were swift as you trampled about the globe
I wondered at you and ate your stories of world
women and decadence
free will to gaze upon Picasso, Goya, Kahlo

breezily you walked the halls of Rome
paid a philosophical visit to Caesar and ate your sandwiches
beneath the long shadow of the Sistine
popped an olive into your mouth


sip wine at high noon for me
feel every smooth groove of the centuries-old
cobble stone beneath your hungering feet
make your legs mine

young student the sun shines across your forehead
I can not take this from you

your worldly accounts I keep like rich cocoa
a slow melting coffee bean coats the inside of my mouth

remember that slow night after the pub?
here in the States?

I led you to my bed then
the damask slid over our bodies creating us silk
thank you Egyptian cotton and excited linen
thank you crooning song and foolish wine
thank you dizzy moon
thank you drink and food and grape
Dionysus you are benevolent

thank you life
for what you gave when you gave it
I needed it then
we shared as the peacocks do
flashing our bright-eyed feathers
swaying sheer silk between the royal columns
I fluttered about like a nervous Leda and
you bent your neck like the swan


sweet boy, I must rise now
this cow-heavy body is required
to meet the morning chore
my child cries out for me and I
am a modern woman
through and through
Amazon, I am
I rise with the sun like a farmer
carry baskets of fish and bread atop my head
I run like the Mayan mother
flaming torch and upside down child
duty calls

my child
split from the pain
and that long-ago
other man


(rationality sets in)
I must turn the sheets and finish the laundry now
drink the coffee and be the poet
I must live out divorcee as best I can

I best go tend to
the ever-present light bill
as the mailman has already
come and gone

forgive the mundane
for we know what we do

as you strap your feathered sandals
buckle shiny shoes around young heel
remember to pay me with a pile of coins

leave me this
gold and silver
leave it there upon
my stolid dark, wood
bedside table

a small visit in the mindfs eye
give me only that


next time you touch Lorca
next time you brunch with Neruda
next time you dine in Morocco
from bowl to right hand to mouth and young hungry lip

next time you trample about,
big sandaled feet and open palm against
the big globe I always wished I knew

next time

think of me as I fold the
laundry and bare my breast
my child is hungry again
for I am stolid and will always bear fruit
for her


you were too soon for me.
I have not yet molted
(please think of me)