The Recklessness Of Trusting Men

by Rax King

The way that great poets talk about writing love
poems tells me: it is no great thing to be in love.

I delineate natal charts like a fraud:
tell a saucer-eyed girl herself as a Scorpio, me
as a Virgo
(you can tell anyone anything).
I say to her, Scorpios are such bullies. Her lips locked
round a straw, eyes straining with bigness,
pupils contracted,
it’s a face that believes every syllable (I don’t think
every girl who reads the stars is a fraud
but I think I am a fraud).

Later I say, you are the ninth man I’ve slept with
this month,
like it means anything (though when I say it,
it’s only the 14th, so).
He offers no statistics, only a bloodless silence,
and later he calls me little slut little slut,
and I wonder whether that sludge would be pouring from him
onto me
had I not said what I said (the familiar
ache of having released too much of myself to an unsympathetic
scrutiny,
of having once again expected so much of a man).

I look at the nine men.
My eye is rigorous, academic—drawing lines in sand,
seeking the sense in myself.
I spy a distant recklessness in my behavior,
one which fails to dissuade me from it (seeing myself
behave sinfully as impersonal
as spying on fish at the aquarium).

I gnaw the shape of my teeth out of a glimmering apple once,
twice.

On Tuesday the tenth man tells me, don’t get too cozy. It’s three AM,
his voice sounding like something irreversible,
like when I leave he’ll deadbolt the door – I don’t leave.

The tenth man says, I’ve been with over 50 women.
I consider the other nine I’ve known this month alone and I say,
that’s a lot.
I want him to wonder.
I don’t leave.

The tenth man tastes bitter,
like licorice.
My teeth ache and my heart is slow.

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