THE BEARDED LADY
I shaved, once. All over. Took a lover
much younger than me—and not for his
conversation. I wanted the feel of a tongue
running over a mouth, slowly—but not
his tongue over my lips, nor mine over his:
I wanted his whole body licking like a tongue
over every new surface of mine. Trouble was,
my stubble. The kid got rug-rash. Carpet-burn.
By the end of the night, the boy looked—uncooked.
When his own sweat began to roast him in salt
he fled to the showers. Haven’t seen him since.
Some time later I married a man
with a skin condition. The soft moss of my belly,
the fur on my face—all titillate the scaly
hide of The Alligator Man. I’m prickly and hirsute.
He’s tough as shoe leather. Neat,
how things turn out.