Girl in Poem

In this poem, I walk to work. It’s a poem;
I mean I rain-walk to hazygraysomewhere
Chapped at the lip. Body in poem always
Is weirdly assembled – here there is bum-leggedness,
Here is the foolishly boned. No one’s nothing works.
If I’m in poem, I’m the mole nearest bellybutton.
I’m the mole once torn from the skin, I’m walking
To work. Poem crowds the streets with other
People’s misplaced clavicles and springs. Poem
Crowds the page with rain.
Body in poem goes nowhere, goes
To pieces. I go through rain to street corner,
Early for work. (Do you remember, poem says,
How many works you walked to without being
Preyed upon for poem?) I mean rain was rigid
Exit; rain fell out of some girl’s open mouth –
Or some such similar nonsense: here poem goes
Sibilant to show its stretched tongue. I walk
With umbrella to work. I mean girl goes tooth-
Ached, closes her mouth.
Here previously unmentioned dog barks or car
Runs slippery in rain or light for crosswalk reflects
Itself in water so that I may make feet across the street,
And, don’t let’s confuse it, poem pretends reality this way.
I cross the street. Across the corner fish market whose
Keeper daily wets me with fish water or squid
Water still sleeps. Girl in poem still sleeps.
(Do you remember, poem says, how many men
You slept side by side under storm or no storm
Without being preyed upon for poem?)
Poem crowds the page with men.
Men are slow-breathed in bed, perfected. Men
Are speaking casually on any subject. Men are working,
Men are going to work. Men are writing poems.
Men are rounding the corner (I am walking to work)
One and then another and then three (poem crowds
The street) and, slow-revealing poem, slow-revealing
Men, one falls down on another in the tumble
Of terrible force – and then the third – until the street,
The poem, is made impassible by men.
When we analyze the poem – when we take the poem
Out of the poem – we’ll surely say, look,
There are three men beating each other in the street –
How marvelous! How real! Here moon rises up
Something terrible – wind topples greenhouse – fire –
Bird – girl getting kissed – anyway, we know it’s a poem.
It doesn’t matter if she wants to be kissed. (Who writes
This poem? Who is allowed to write this poem?) Men
On the street are arms and hands and wrapped up
Legs and fingers curled for fists and fingers reaching
Into another’s hair or shirt or previous offense and fingers
That are just their fingers (a piece of a body is not
A body; it cannot die) and fingers that push usual
Weight, how a man might push me up against a wall
If he wants to, how a man did, without breaking any
Poem. Girl in poem is stopped on the street, says
Nothing. Remember me? I am interrupted again. I’m
The mole, I’m walking to work. Girl in poem isn’t me;
She’s someone I saw once. She was witnessing something
Terrible. It wasn’t the moon.

Kat Dixon is the author of two full-length poetry collections – TEMPORARY YES (Artistically Declined Press 2012) and BLACK RACKET OCEAN (89Plus/LUMA Publications 2014) – and the novella HERE/OTHER (Artistically Declined Press 2014). She lives in Seoul and online at