Poems Niederngasse Issue 84 - January 2008

Penny Bayless
Fruit Of The Bitter Bean

Alone, at ten,
with menstrual cramps and Modess.
drinking strong black Maxwell House

(fruit of the bitter bean)
I dream, awake, of where I'd rather be: i.e.,
cleansed and pure and humbled in your love.

No, I will not give myself to you again.
My body?  Yes, perhaps.
But I can't part with this contrary me
who loved you so, and nearly died.
    Oh, yes she is alive!
    Doing well.
This bloody me of rags and moldy dreams
is faring far less fortunate than she.
This me would fill your empty spot with more romance,
with youthful spasms of the mind-raped heart...
Oh I.....would have you
hot and honey dripping, sperm exploding in my bed,
and I would kneel before the altar of your arms,
my nipples would salute your sweet commands,
and, baby naked I would lean against your wall.
    But she?
    She would not give you less than love.
Who loved you far too much
to watch you struggle on her chain
or flounder with you in a flesh-wet bed.
She is still a virgin, this I swear,
who'll never pray upon the altar of your arms.
She is the saint this I will never be.
She is clean, and pure, and humble.
    But not I.
    I bleed this reeking mess.
I sit in it and cry
for lost virginity
and your love
(or at least your maleness).
She nearly died because you didn't know.
You could not love this bloody me,
unclean, unkempt, uncurled.
But could, I wonder,
    you have loved
    that untouched her.

Penny Bayless: I attended WV Northern Community College where I was assistant editor of the school newspaper, Northern Star, and, the editor of the literary magazine, Northern Lights. My work has appeared in the Amateur Writer's Journal, Northern Lights, and Golden Verse from Ohio Valley Poets, and on line in the Red River Review and Poems Niederngasse.  email: Pennysparky@aol.com