Dot is tired of omitting her ex-girlfriends,
the ones she cannot write
without confusing pronouns or a cocked
brow from the man in her workshop
who keeps accidentally touching her
leg. She is tired of the pink
in her cheek being a blush of cold,
an accident of blood. She wants
to write about the way
a woman’s mouth feels different,
the tongue a downy pillow,
warm laundry against the chin.
She does not want to unlove men,
but to talk of how two small hands
can clutch in the dark. How
she used to wear her lovers’ clothes,
click in each other’s heels, giddy
on wine in the cobblestone
of Allegheny. She wants to sing
in the kitchen the same songs
for a time, take turns spinning each other
like a tilt-a-whirl on an axis
that feels the same. The way she knew
when to stroke her hair, the clamshell
fingers making each strand mermaid slick.
How when she touches a man,
it does not change who she is—
a woman who has been two
in morning sheets, who has touched
the small of her lover’s back and wanted
in the lap of someone she now loves.
Erin Elizabeth Smith is the creative director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and the author of two full-length collections, The Naming of Strays (Gold Wake, 2011) and The Fear of Being Found, which was re-released from Zoetic Press this year. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing and teaches a bit of everything in the English Department at the University of Tennessee. She serves as the managing editor of Sundress Publications and The Wardrobe.