Ariadne Plays the Physician

We must set this story straight.
We must say there is another angle

to this foreign particle

lodged in my ribs like a small ivory
tiger or a Chinese lamp, the oil

coating my bones. Theseus,
you know you didn't break me.

I was the one who came to you
with a magnifying glass,

needing my Oxford credits

for the University of Someone Wants Me:
my gold-sealed social stigma.

I made my own marks. & everyone
should know it—I have an A+

in the humors of you. I was
an Edison bulb in a child’s bedchamber,

a Spanish fan flirting with fire,

smoking as pity turned to shock
at mediocre parties where conversations

are weak with the ordinary.
My outfit betrayed me—you wept 

right through my clinical gloves
like a little boy

with a bad heart & a mean streak.

I monitored your ailments, but my logic 
was circular: What is man? What is

man? What is this man doing here
with me? No bright conclusion.

I was bad at doctoring the truth.
I was in it for myself. & the skull

I carried in my hand in case
anyone took record? Still on my fingers.

More by Analicia Sotelo

Bitch Instinct

Before this day I loved
like an animal loves a human,
 
with no way to articulate
how my bones felt in bed
 
or how a telephone felt so strange
in my paw. O papa—
 
I called out to no one—
but no one understood. I didn’t
 
even. I wanted to be caught. Like
let me walk beside you on my favorite leash,
 
let my hair grow long and wild
so you can comb it in the off-hours,
 
be tender to me. Also let me eat
the meals you do not finish 	
 
so I can acclimate, climb into
the way you claim this world.
 
Once, I followed married men:
eager for shelter, my fur
 
curled, my lust
freshly showered.
 
I called out, Grief.
They heard, Beauty.                      	
 
I called out, Why?
They said, Because I can and will.
 
One smile could sustain me for a week.
I was that hungry. Lithe and giddy,        	
 
my skin carried the ether of a so-so
self-esteem. I felt fine. I was
 
fine, but I was also looking
for scraps; I wanted them all to pet me.
 
You think because I am a woman,
I cannot call myself a dog?
 
Look at my sweet canine mind,
my long, black tongue. I know
 
what I’m doing. When you’re with
the wrong person, you start barking.
 
But with you, I am looking out
this car window with a heightened sense
 
I’ve always owned. Oh every animal
knows when something is wrong.
 
Of this sweet, tender feeling, I was wrong,
and I was right, and I was wrong.