What the Critic Didn’t Say


Why didn’t you know who you were first? It’s one of the questions that occurred to
me when I came home from the assignation.
The next day you claimed you had been “licked by the tongue of God.”
It’s not what I wanted to hear. It troubles me. Why can’t I place it in the proper

You had always been the kind of woman who says, “It’s what the boys tell you
when they want to.”
Now invitations. Now eyes that say they have been walking around with their sex

I heard then a mother tell her daughter, “I got stuck removing the moonlight.” The
mother was “accidentally” dropping an egg in her daughter’s lap, who whimpered and
tried to hold it untouched, silently announcing herself like a billboard.
I offered them the badge I got for stealing erasers in a town that seemed smaller
than I was.

“The words came out of his mouth in the normal way, but what he said, it turned
back on itself. Neat and meaningless.”
I watched. I nodded. I analyzed the influences.
You said what I wanted to hear. You had to be right.

The last time we met, you were busy altering the direction of the hairs on your
beautiful, blunt fingers.
If they pointed at me, I didn’t notice.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.