First, you must cultivate belief in words
and the magic of repetition. Then choose a boy
and write his name in combination with yours
across eleven notebook covers. Employ
your girlish powers of design to your future
initials—repeat them until you love the change,
until becoming another becomes your second nature.
Then, before someone sees your heart on the page
rip it out, crumple it up, and burn it well.
Give up that boy and write another’s name
with yours. Repeat. Each time it will be quicker
to take his as your own. Keep faith in spells—
repeat repeat repeat each name the same
till one becomes your final moniker.
You’ll find that incantations fail. Or maybe
you did—lost the rhythm, gave up each boy’s name
too soon. Now then,
it’s time. Give in to body—
the way it falls and rises, molds itself
like damp spring soil in his hands.
Sink your faltering belief
into the divinity of flesh
and flesh together, wrapped
in sweat-drenched sheets, stuck
like plastic wrap to slabs of meat.
Dig deep your stone-sharp nails
in the communal pleasure of skin and
focus only there. Lie back—watch the smolder
of a half-smoked Kamel Red in the ashtray
beside your fallow dirt-caked bed.
Try to catch the glimmer of moonlight
You will grow tired of a body unsupported
by words. You too will have your fill
of lust alone & the moon, still out of reach
But reach you will—up and out of the sordid
earth. Stand now: Wring out
your sweat-logged skin
and give it breath again. Resurrect
the fallen rhythms of your fruitless school-girl
incantations— rearrange their rhymes
into fluid lines more honest to a heart
well-traveled. Speak aloud of what (you fear)
does not exist. Call out the absence
of a name. Give words to your imperfect wants
and what you don’t expect from his response.
Repeat at least three times, then listen: A voice
will join with yours—body bound, yet rising.
* Parts 1 and 2 previously appeared in Mezzo Cammin 11.1.
Andrea L. Hackbarth lives in Palmer, Alaska. Her poems have appeared in Flyover Country Review, Gargoyle Magazine, Gravel, Mezzo Cammin, Temenos Journal, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review.