‘How the Shyness Unfolds’ by Cathryn Cofell-Mutschler

I want to say it’s a banana or a potato
being peeled, the slow curl and reveal,
but such a bland yellow thing.

I want to say it’s a shirt from a drawer,
a billow of purple and Bounce,
but it’s sweat and crumple in a pile.

I want to say it’s a virgin’s fantasy first,
soft hall light and Harlequin,
tender and gasp as they keen and grasp.

I say tender but mean tinder:
a birch tree stripped of its bark,
doused with lighter fluid, flame exposed.

I say exposed but mean explode:
a shrapnel of four-martinis,
a face reflected as pale and abhor.

When I say abhor I mean whore,
for FICA and retirement,
food and rent.

When I say rent I mean rend.
When I say rend I mean rend.

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