Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Poem: In the City of Men

Mama warned me about men like him
when I began dating
and again when I started at the plant.
But I could handle myself.
I strutted to my locker at the end of the shift,
rolling hips smooth as pistons,
and ignored the whistles and yells
that followed even the ugliest woman
in this city of men.

That Wednesday, his gaze locked on me
from three lines away.
I knew he was trouble.
His thick arms,
slick with humid Carolina air,
moved like the machines we made.
I thought of his hips pumping inside mine
with that same rhythm.
The foreman docked my pay for
backing up the line.

On Friday, he had me like a cheap whore
in the back of his midnight blue Torino.
No movie. No dinner.
But his body slid along mine
the way the serpent did to Eve
and I screamed into the July night
with a rapture that shook me to the bone.

When he moved on down the line
to the next new tender girl,
I had my work to keep me sane.
The whistles and yells started back up
and I took my pick,
as any woman would
in this city of men.

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