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Eileen R. Tabios

Of course you’d have money
for a suite with French furniture
fake but not embarrassing,
the lily prints framed against walls
bland but not offensive,
the King-sized bed encased in gold cloth
but not repelling like sateen,
a foyer tiny but marbled with interesting veins,
an ice bucket with a monograph–
this is as good as it gets
for hotel rooms meant for an afternoon tryst

You’re the one who knows better
than to cuddle afterwards

Five minutes afterwards,
your face is as bland as the wallpaper
to hide your impatience as, your pale palm
chilling my bare elbow,
you guide me to the door.
I marveled at your courteous mask
so much I forgot
you are not
the poet on a deadline
I almost missed for three

I would have refunded your
tax-free money
if you’d cuddled afterwards
because of larger things at stake
when birthing a poem

In this alternative scenario
this poem would have been about lilies–
how some look like neophyte nuns,
how others mimic the carved folds
ending the skirts of Virgin Marys,
how Georgia O’Keefe never succeeded
in painting them as abstract vaginas
(vaginas can never be abstract),
how their scent evokes the type of decay
lurking in candle-soaked shrines
measuring the dusk permeating marble churches

how the red pistil rising
from waxy white petals
always look profane
and magnificently divine.

Eileen R. Tabios

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