Bitch Ghazal

by Jo Blair Cipriano


In the straight man’s fantasy, I die nameless. Sweetie. Baby. Bitch.

I ask for it by not asking. Mind my business, but if a bitch


is hungry, I’ll lap whatever you’ve got off the floor. Yes,

even that. Maybe it’s fast. Eager. But I’m just a poor bitch


kneeling before an appendage, asking it not to kill her. Don’t act

like you’re scared of blood: if I met your mom, asked a bitch


how you got here, she’d say I don’t remember but god,

what a mess. Go ahead, ask if childbirth was worth some little bitch


calling her mama. Ask her about regret. In an Alabama airport, another man

wonders aloud what my ass tastes like before I bathe at night. His imaginary tub, itching


to lick me clean. On the tv above, a hog named Pigcasso makes art

holding a brush in her snout. When ignored, bath-guy doesn’t call me “bitch”


but “fat pig.” If I lived in this state, I couldn’t have an abortion where I’m safe

like this, dismembered in some old man’s fantasy. My resting bitch


face is my friend. She holds me in place, remembers the stranger

jacking off in his truck who, through glass, mouthed my name: Slut.


She’s not surprised at the variation. One limb at a time

we remind each other who we are. Oh, Baby. Sweetie. A bitch


is still alive. I sing and elms begin to shed. Yes. Even in summer. Say it:

painted nails through dead leaves sound so beautiful, bitch.


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