I wasn’t there when the finger reached far
past the uvula.
I wasn’t there for the body’s quick convulsing,
or the fire that lurched from the throat.
I was there just before, though,
listening at the door, pressing the lock with my thumb.
And before that I was there,
pockets full of quarters, dozens and dozens,
shifting under the bulk of them.
And before that, yes, nodding
at the table with the others as my fingers kissed my lips
again and again with Judas’s arrowed kiss.
And before that, or really inside of it, where the water swirled
at the drain, funneled down with a low gurgle –
I wasn’t there either.
But after all of that, I was there right away,
smoothing my shirt and rinsing
the bite from my teeth.
Bronwen Butter Newcott was born and raised in Washington DC, where she currently lives. She earned an MFA from the University of Maryland, spent a decade in southern California teaching and writing, and is glad to be back east where she leads a weekly writing group at Miriam's Kitchen and is raising three children with her husband.
Her poems have appeared in Image
, Indiana Review
, Prairie Schooner
, Missouri Review
, Smartish Pace
, and other publications.
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