When I was young my body was money. I bought what I thought would
please me. I would have married a man who kissed the fine fan of bones in
my foot. I squandered my pretty breasts and thighs, looking for him.
I never slept beside those men. I sat on their laps and pulled kisses from their
mouths—but I never did sleep. Never dreamed. I couldn’t let them see
that in me: my pictures of red flowers, scented lakes, damask, orange trees.
In dreams I breathed water. In dreams I flew.
After a man left I’d stand a long time in front of the mirror, brushing my hair.
My belly’s empty and I want something sweet.
My belly’s empty and I want something salt.
My belly’s empty and I want a bitter thing.
Somewhere there is a bird like my soul.
— maureen gibbon