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             On a shelf
on a nail
             on top of the door frame
your stares make a triangle
of forward-thrusting gaze.
I dagger down their lines
& slowly, carefully, leg
outside. I check myself: Alive.

So it feels right to palm you down
& line your painted faces up
like a masculine chorus—dancers,
silent: right legs in front,
fingers reached out,
chests rigid
& smiles sword-long.


bananas—you are my constant
mourning—you yellow it—interrupt
with that slow         of skin parting
away—freshly, greenly
like bark—resistant

as these thighs—reminders,        sticky—

                you’ve got no
                control in this
                world, girl

just two knees spoiling
in a tight room—the world full of air
closing in         on hips, kneading
hard—nothing to do but bruise


These days short shorts are really working on it.
A kind of public danger, loud-hipped, an inner
thigh pressing other thighs just to part them.
During sex it thinks of hamburgers, a bathtub full.
Often pacing the food court alone it comes
to the movieplex & buys a ticket for one about dolphins.

Compatible hips sit paired & close in the theater
because they hinge only for each other.
But the self is free to straddle rows.

When its deep laugh booms out during funny
bits, other legs twitch toward their partners.
A calm voice onscreen says dolphins kill for mates
or in defense or without reason, but the self
has crawled under a seat to look for change.


Virginia McLure edits the online poetry project www.lafovea.org and has worked with A Public Space, LSU Press, and Washington Square Review. A former Goldwater Fellow in Poetry within New York University’s MFA program, where she completed her thesis under Charles Simic, she has recent writing featured or forthcoming in BOMBNashville Review, and Meridian

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