TINGE Magazine - http://www.tingemagazine.org

Issue 8

Three Poems

 · Poetry

Instruction: Children’s Ward 

Dig your ring, middle, index 
fingers in, scratch for all the times 
it scratched you — 
age six, age nine, yesterday two
in the morning. Leave
a rough gouge
across its stemmy legs
that will itch and will sting
in the new summer rain. Show it
you’re the boss
you mean business
you are nobody’s catch dog. 
Lastly, and this last part
is important: as you walk away
don’t look back, don’t
suggest you are game
for another go round, not with a coffin
shaped row of hawthorn. 


Remission Before you told me, it was me singing up the Garden State Parkway, “Roxanne you don’t have to put on the red light.” It was me saying to a girlfriend over green tea “odds are, I must know a man who has done it with a whore.” I wasn’t thinking it’d turn out to be you. That it was you in the hours the chemicals took to drip into my marrow, before that nauseous ride home, you more buoyant than ever. Never thought it’d turn out that she for the money almost helped us get through it.  
Escape I’ve been reading poems from prison. Or I should say from prisoners. Not that they sent them to me. I mean they were written by men doing time and still are or by men who did time and no longer are and in one poem an inmate is making a woman out of sheets and rags and towels. An anatomical mound to hump. The average woman in this country weighs one sixty-five. That’s a lot of towels. That would be too much him plus her for his spring-shot bunk, the average man weighing one ninety-four, but they are not the average couple. They are hopeful and trim, dry-eyed and unfailing. After he breaks a sweat, after he gets something like laid, only then do I remember he’s alone in a cell. Only then do I remember the wrong I’ve done you.

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