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March 23, 2018 Poetry

Three Poems

Jason Phoebe Rusch

Three Poems photo

Ritual for a Lover

Monitor your calorie intake,
shear off your spare tire,
huff over the elliptical.

Wax, tweeze, shave, smooth
indignant skin with cream
or lotion, he says he doesn’t care

but you want to
provide the best tactile
experience. Wear perfume,

or don’t, if it’s cloying.
Wear makeup, or don’t, if
it’s vain, if you’re more

beautiful without it. Douse
your parts with wild hibiscus
petal, Hawaiian rain.

Make your parts palatable,
less wild. Do these things to keep
him. Know that he is unconcerned-

once he sucked mints in preparation
for seeing you, shaved his own parts
of his own accord, regularly bathed.

Now he stares into his phone
while you speak, now you are always

with Wikipedia, with Tumblr.
Become conversant in his passions, read
his favorite books, know he won’t touch

yours. For a feminist, he says, you comment
on other girls’ appearances a lot.

You notice female beauty more
than I do.
As if beauty expressed
nothing of the self to admire.


What Boys Don’t Like

is girls who make themselves too available,
who have been available to too many boys,

this is what my mother, Midwestern baby boomer,
tells me and popular consensus seems to agree,

divide your number by two or three and all that
but I’m no good at pretending

that I wash my face and brush my teeth
every night, that I am not a tangled thicket

of want. To be loved, as a woman, you must learn
theater, apparently, play yourself. I have never had

what they call wiles, only my fat, red heart
beating somewhere outside my chest.

The man who finds it
beautiful rather than repulsive

wins— my sweet, rank
meat has drawn flies.



After Robert P. George’s ‘Marriage and the Myth of Moral Neutrality’

Perhaps a cock and an ass, a lesbian and a dildo,
my boyfriend’s tongue and my engorged
clit, can’t form two-in-one-flesh union,
but isn’t the non-utilitarian joy of my love’s
fingers doing their work, beckoning forth
fountains from the deep proof of divine
abundance, superfluous generosity, evolved
like panda ant or goblin shark not only to propagate
but to revel in its own improbability?
Why must pleasure make sense when God themself
defies all reason? Why not fuck with tongue
and toys, teeth and nails, breaking on the rocks
of what we think possible-- gasping, and gasping?

Like the trinity, I am spark of fire, boy child,
motherly ghost: composite, riddle, paradox, flesh
and spirit not entirely reconciled. Or maybe I am
a swine filled with demons, legion. My lover’s ass
slaps against my thighs, his back arches, soft moans
quicken sweetness between my legs, sweetness and stomach
lurching like from too much candy, I am two-in-one-flesh,
I was never supposed to want this sick: being on top, inside,
witness to the glorious geometry of a man’s shoulders,
broad diagonals, forearms furred and corded with muscle,
his big hands clenched into ecstatic fists, and I am coming inside him,
and I am also a woman wearing a vibrating piece of plastic—
both ways, my halves cleave to each other, the woman and man
in me hold hands eternally or until my atoms parcel
into stars and trees, amen.


image: Aaron Burch