What would he say if he could see me like this:
stinking of nicotine, sitting in the dark
across from the fucker with fat fingers
who’s never seen anything like me before.
Would he kiss me
Or tell me to brush my teeth?
Nowadays I can drink a carafe of wine and not feel a thing.
I got all the mean, deep feelings a girl could want.
Does that count for something in a lover?
What would he say if he could see me:
“Just because you went down south for a few days,
it doesn’t make you a bohemian.”
Would he bring lilacs?
Would we drown in the silence?
Would he find anything irresistible left inside of me?
Maybe I can still forget about him.
There’s always that distant possibility.
Hideous women like me, we’ve never heard a lion roar in the night:
only a house cat whimper for its milk.
Hideous women like me, we cannot lock our doors.
We would be lucky to have anyone call.
But be careful when you kiss us:
we have learned how to suck venom from strangers’ wounds, and we can spit it on command.
Hideous women like me, we’ve inherited a knack for disappearing inside our kitchens while waiting for our husbands to come home
(it’s after three and dinner has gone sour on the countertop).
Be careful because hideous women have excellent aim, especially with cutlery.
Hideous women like me, we think it’s never our fault.
We have no sense of humor and we smoke too much.
We pray every night or not at all.
We don’t finish our meals,
Walk too fast,
Bruise easy but never cover them up,
Never forget an exit.
You cannot love a hideous woman.
It’s bad for business.
Yet still I see you notice us on the road.
You wonder about us.
You want to sip us on unceremonious holidays -
not New Year’s Eve, but possibly your birthday (if it’s not an even number).
We remind you of somebody.
You think we already love you.
I had to write you and tell you:
We probably never will.
Kate Douglas is a writer and performance artist living in New York. She one day hopes to write poetry in four different languages.