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 Dear Valentine

MK  says
The true test of a man
is the zombie-war theory.
I whisper this excitedly
all Valentine’s Day night
high on XTC
every other sentence
I love you because-
or what I love about you is-
not that your dick is so beautiful,
and it is,
but because
when they come
“the living dead”
clawing at the doors
bloody mouthed
friends, family,
the guy from Quick Stop down the street
almost unrecognizable-
pleading  to be let in
“But it’s me,”
they’ll say
You won’t be fooled.
You will lock the iron gate
baracade the doors,
know the gangsters to call
the ones with larger arsenals
than The OPD
You’ll throw haymakers with your muscled arms
a pistol in your waist
throw hot grenades  from the front porch,
even if it’s your babies’ mama
all grisly, pitiful, and hungry.
You’ll train the kids to shoot on sight-
sic the dogs-
and I know
that we will survive
the zombie wars
together.

____________

Back Bone

when you offer to oil me down
to massage out my aches
I picture you,
unzipping my greasy body
you rub each organ
squeeze their toxins
into a trash can pulled close
your strong hands
take up the still small uterus
milk out the embryo
like a pus filled pimple
you reach deeper
past viscous reds and purples
remove each disc
file and paste
rotten cartilage
gently  blow off bone dust
and put my pieces
together again.

____________

Bars

I suck icicles
Half my child size
Runny red nose
Taste of tin
and cold of winter
Ivory soap goes milky in the tub
House heats up
From wood stove
Snow slides down roof’s peak
Whoosh and stab
snow banks impaled

In jail tiny bars of ivory
float in backed up drains
paper wrappers and all
panties  hand washed
with white squares
dry on the head of the bunk
and the smell of innocence is lost
and institutional.

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Daddy was always sleeping
long and late
awake his talk endless
stories and laughter
around the crowded kitchen table
the radio played all night long
in clouds of Camel smoke
his sudden rage
scared me
he cursed other drivers
drove faster
swung the car wildly
did doughnuts in parking lots
me holding on
screaming from the backseat
but at bedtime
he read to me
his voice warm
in all the characters
he’d chuckle, clear his throat
and bring them alive.

Now I’m Mom
moving fast
sleeping long and late
stumbling up for coffee
preoccupied
I play my music loud
drive fast lose control
on the way to preschool
My son tells me
“Mommy you shouldn’t say
fuck to the other cars”
At the end of the day we read
some of Daddy’s old favorites.
CASSANDRA DALLETT

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