Rena Priest

She can eat a man whole with her eyes—
lick his skinny bones white, sweat him
from her pores in the fever

of a cold, cold night.
It would have the smell of stargazer lilies, wilting
and the whole thing would sound like a soft sigh.

When first I saw her, she had big hair
and a blacked eye. She said, "I could make
loving you my business. That would be a good

first line." But she’s closed up shop
and there will be no more sighing like that
on our block. She took the red light down.

Left us to remember the washed out stars
above her lonely stoop and a panatella's hot display.
These days, we smoke and the time just goes,

while our sons of these concrete gardens
grow, gray, but hard—blossom into stone.
Did I ever tell you how once after lovemaking

Bunny saw a roach the size of a meadow lark
crawling into the sunlight to die?
She would see an ugly thing and sing,

"I wanna be a part of it. New York, New York!"
but she’s gone—took the girls uptown.
Bought them all a home—learned to sew.

At least I don’t love her no more.
So how could we be low, beneath these bright lights,
though Bunny took the red one down?





"Lament for the Love of Bunny" began as an exercise that I found in a book called The Practice of Poetry. The book is edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell. It's full of good stuff to get the poetry muscles moving. The exercise is called "Twenty Little Poetry Projects" by Jim Simmerman. The details were inspired by all the simultaneously beautiful and ugly things I encounter in this glorious life.