width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses


Nanette Rayman Rivera

I have spent these poverty days away from myself  
I have cut away the young-girl flesh with a razor in my lips
and now I can pretend the crimson on my breasts
is not blood but bloom.  I have severed Laurette Taylor
who was growing on my nape and intestine, making
of herself a saddle.  I buried her below the night.
And now I pretend this second me is how I began.
I pretend the earth beats with clean slates, imagine
half-lit stages and white dresses, roses at my feet.
This is how I’d like to create the world—rupture
the fault line into colored stars, aqua and periwinkle
and paste the prettiest on the foreheads
of the prettiest, the talented, the desirous, and turn
all the poor girls into Almas and Blanches and Phaedras.

© 2006 Nanette Rayman Rivera

Two Shames

The slaughter was grand, so grand                   
I didn’t mind that he touched me
and blood spattered onto my only                                                    
pretty pumps.                                                      
Whose feet?                                          
I was all unbendable now
and one greedy man trying to gut me open.
But I let him, my legs are withered vines.     
I can hardly imagine another empty-bellied day
and he continues.  I don’t feel much pain.  So many 
displacements, the air closing in like a crypt.
I just know this:
through the dull séance of my eyes
homeless inclines a stone and fills
my cupped  heart with shame.
He saw my removal, my garbage bag of dresses                                                           
he knew I would forfeit all -- my health, my woman
pride -- to ransom a night with walls.
and left me there with a tossed twenty to cover myself,
the bill stinking of gasoline.
Later, I had nowhere to go,
 so I let him have at it, again, 
for the warmth of a bed.    
The moon pants in the cold burlap of night.
I wait by the window                                                          
for those flim-flam fingers of unruly death     

© 2006 Nanette Rayman Rivera