He says you have it coming
because you smile
too-big at the Papis and gals and no matter
the meaning behind that smile, baby,
your joyful teeth are enough to
jail you in consequence.
He says whatever happens
when he releases me into the wet night
after a weird beer or somekinda wine
is my own fault, that I can’t blame my
body-losses on the black city or briny Caribbean
He says that’s your problem –
the happy in your front teeth,
the way your purpl’d hips coil and flick,
it doesn’t matter if you see themboys spirit
before body, themboys don’t see
spirits and yes, babygirl:
they are looking at you.
He says what I should see first
is men-eyes and lusty sweat bundled
on men-foreheads and he says
if I wear shortskirtstightjeans and themboys
reach out and snatch me from red alleys,
that’s on me. And by the way, he says,
if you don’t bite hard enough
when they catch you, baby,
you’re a fucking whore.
you look so happy
Jennifer Maritza McCauley is a teacher, editor and Ph.D. candidate in creative writing at the University of Missouri. She is also Contest Editor at The Missouri Review, reviews editor at Fjords Review and an associate editor of Origins Literary Journal. Her most recent work appears in Passages North, Jabberwock Review, Split this Rock‘s “Poem of the Week,” Puerto del Sol, and A Shadow Map anthology (CCM Press), among other outlets. Her full-length poetry collection is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press in fall 2017.