I know what he likes
he likes a hard woman
(half of me)
and not a soft girl
(the other half)
and I commenced showing him
that he could be rough with me
and I could strut
in those patent-leather pumps
and memorize grid maps
of beauty so complicated
you have to look for it to find it
and prove I won’t get lost in the streets
(never mind getting lost in spirit)
make eye-to-eye contact
with fast lanes and speeding cars
and courtrooms pretending
the thick eyeliner and mascara
the color of midnight
don’t obscure my eyes
I’m standing here
in the polished metal
lobby of his life
smoking a cigarette
between my Revlon painted lips

soon I will
realize the truth about myself
the fragile flame
that unclasps her soul
and strips her fears
down to the last button
and dances in the rain
precarious like
always teetering on the edge of things
the periwinkle at twilight
that lasts only eleven minutes
before rushing into
the cerulean arms of evening
can masquerade all I want
that I am only half of who I am
without really having
the man that I need:
I need a man who can dream
and be gentle with me
and kiss me slowly enough
to read between the lines
of my heartbeat

but I’ll play the role till the end
scribble a message on stationery
leave it at the front desk
like I suddenly just
have somewhere important to be
push the revolving door
out into the rush hour
obliterated by smog and graffiti
and fight unscrupulously for a cab
and drive away in style
he’ll think everything’s all right with us
until he realizes
I’ll never pick up my phone again
when he calls