STRANGER MUSE

Let’s say she’s an African potter
or a princess from Nepal.
A Japanese CEO.
Let’s say she’s never seen winter.

She works in a factory.
Her husband beats her.
She’s a teenaged lesbian.
She has five kids.

Drinks martinis,
wears four inch heels
and red satin dresses,
smokes little cigars.

She’s Inuit, maybe
maybe Zapotec,
!Kung.
That different.

And if that different,
do her poems come
from a different place
than mine?

From the back of her knees,
between her fingers, maybe,
out her ears
through the soles of her feet. . .

Does she dream
what I dream again and again:
the childhood house
now full of strangers,

the test I must take,
the mysterious lover in the dark?
What is the hunger in her belly?
What does she hope?

Does she, too, imagine an exotic Muse?
A white woman in jeans, perhaps,
working in a small red room,
staring at trees through the falling snow.

 

Nov., 2001,  Feb., 2005,  Jan., 2012 

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