the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Fall 2007



Marion Brown


This brown is single, but look how
plump, unwrinkled, unworn. I bought
replacements, but I might lose one.
(He’s right to scold; I dump gloves lap
to gutter when I fling a car door and jump
out.) It could be the left one, as this is.
I could lose the right one, that is, the left,
and make thrift right. (Did I say he gave

them?) I’m not careful to hold on to every
glove. To make order, some gloves
have to go, but not fine leather. See
this old pair, creased at the joints so
the fingertips seek each other? (I hope,
before we’re gnarled, he and I will behave
like that, each tending toward its mate.)

My gloves hug my wrists, hemmed
in suburban stitch, not flashy but warm.
Gardening gloves? Dirt, inside and out,
ones he got me for my fiftieth. They
insinuate soil under my nails even before
I kneel. Talk about gnarled: they don’t
let me straighten my fingers. After a new

pair pops from gift-wrap, will the one
with clogged lining like a short-sheeted bed
go into the trash? The grim clerk who
handles my stock and says what stays
and what goes won’t annul a marriage
even if the glove galls and grates
when I pull it over my skin. The rub
of every day gets the blood going.

Aphrodite with Big Boobs

They’re not nothing, but I recall when they
were not, a sandwich board till destiny....
In testimony, Paris awarded them the apple,
making a judgment that goes back to Eve,
"Look at them apples." I wear them, like
chandelier earrings, for others, not for me.
(Allure is shifty. It gets in the way.) You
may squeeze them; mine are homegrown.

See them rollick! Now you’ve made my
nipples stand up. Men praise, stroke, or suck.
Baby or guy, like it or not, I make each
the same pointed offer with my beacons
of increase. But, light as a laugh, weight
slips into the womb—and forget about me.


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