Poet Groupie

by Marie Marandola

A poet groupie doesn’t have to take her clothes off
right away. Doesn’t have to toss
her cotton bra into the stacks,
or flirt with the librarian.
She doesn’t charge the stage
at readings, divine eyes of fire
and screaming, hoping to be noticed
by the man whose music moves her.

A poet groupie earns her backstage pass
more quietly: she studies
the lyrics in his chapbooks, imagines
him folding and stitching each page.
Lets the texture of thick paper
stroke her fingers. Presses her thighs
around a well-timed dash.
Beneath her reading lamp,
the candle she’s lit flicks soft shadows
across his stanzas. And when the steam
from her tea fogs her glasses, she shifts
her gaze to read over their frames,
and so seduces his images.

A poet groupie goes to shows.
Traverses the country
for a chance to hear him live.
Sits as close as she can
to the folding stand, and sways
along with him as he reads.
She learns his syncopated rhythms,
holds his line breaks in her hips.

A poet groupie doesn’t always understand
the poet and his speaker
are not the same man.
Impatient, she scans his latest draft—
strains to hear a chord of love, longing, regret:
the butter-yellow couch
where their metaphors first met;
the teeth marks his hard vowels
made on her neck;
the ellipses she placed on his porch
when she left.

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