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Desserts, by PATRICIA TRAXLER

July 03, 1994

What is to be said, or needs to be,

for one who protected her own

nightmare, who buried

murmurs & bruises each morning

before the world was up? Secret,

this shame, even now

I keep it safe as a baby,

though I don't doubt its paternity

Nor do I imagine

it was a virgin birth--let's be serious:

I don't believe in miracles

that hurt. But as to blame I can blame

no one for that love

baby, that thing that kept me

awake at night, screamed to be

fed till I killed it instead, killed it and still

It rises each morning like

light, like dough, dough

baby, lovebaby, cumbrous secret

on its tongue like Communion, a

terrible light in its eyes; fragile-boned

thing that needs me, needs and

needs, eats me alive, a finger, a toe

an ear at a time, but saves my red heart

For the end. For so long, all these years,

I've wanted to go back and say Watch out,

it's a dangerous dessert : in dreams

there are warnings of how it will rise

stealthy as morning, my lollipop heart,

quite on its own it will rise up, monstrous,

intransigent, and beat, it will beat him

to within an inch of my life.

From "Forbidden Words" by Patricia Traxler. (Missouri: $9.95) 1994 Reprinted by permission.

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