Cathexis Northwest Press
The lady lobster is lucky,; Dear John; Easy
By: C. Prudence Arceneaux
The lady lobster is lucky,
she gets to pee
everywhere [fanning it, so to speak]. It is
the evolution of humans that these events—
urination, showers of gold—are things to be
hidden, however accidental. She doesn’t
have to pause in her thought, inevitably
forgetting about the he- lobster there
and instead the he- lobster who was there—
bigger claws he had, maybe? A reaction time
like a mantis shrimp?—She doesn’t have to worry
about who will lie in the wet spot. Does she have
the option to decide how to molt? Head first? Feet
first? Or does it simply start unbidden, like the dilation
of pupils when the human male stretches the smell
of his sweat like old still soil, still fertile, still
waiting. Does she get to watch him posture as she elbows
her way out of the old man? Or does she back out of the past?
: the foot she lost in haste, the limb bud fleshy and full
of phantom story, why she styled the tiny hairs of her tail only
to have the swimmerets crushed. How long until her color returns?
Does she flush red at the thought of her new he- lobster
or play coy, leaving him wondering who all this stripping and peeing
is for? No matter. He stays, he waits. What takes her thirty minutes,
takes a human female thirty years.
Every woman should have a man like you.
A married man who treats her
like another man’s property, always
careful not to show signs of wear, signs of use.
A man who brings the smell of another woman
when he rustles between her thighs, so heavy
she can taste the first on his eyes, his hair.
Every woman needs a man like you. A man
who will teach her about animals
and fear, show her how to gently expose
the white- white of her eyes. With you, she will
learn to smell fear. How it is damp and sticky,
muggy and runny, the last days of a period.
The important waiting for no thing. Show her
how the smell starts under her scalp, then
it is under her nose so she can smell
her own body posturing.
A man like you will then teach her to be afraid,
scenting the air for the smell he brought
to her bed. Your kind can teach a woman
to speak in whispers because she must speak,
but you ask her to lower her voice.
And a woman deserves a man who will teach her to fear drink.
Show her the lip of the beer bottle, so like
the smooth lip of a man’s penis. Train her to hold
the bottle just so in her hand, just so in her teeth.
A woman must have a man like you who compares her
to another woman, who says his wife’s golden hair
is nothing like the brown bleed of her skin, contrast
his wife’s clocklike moans to her musk groans. A man
like you will confide these things, make a woman’s skin move
to the words. You will treat her like your wife, only
ten years ago, and allow a woman into a fantasy she never knew
she wanted. She will faint with her own disgust.
Every woman deserves a man like you. A married man
who shows her how to undo her weave, slowly
and gently, thread by thread, as if each section
she’d finished had been wrong all along, but with no more
attention to the process than he gives his wife. And when
the pieces bound by her blood and spit are reduced
to a void of thread, she will remember the fat sky
and lazy clouds you both lay under and remember
that a man like you will remind her of all she has
already sacrificed for what you were too ashamed
to call love.
I think this is what the end must be like,
when a person says till death do us part;
who will die first, and will you look good
in your bed of satin?
It’s sunning outside in big fat drops;
chase the puddles of it along
the sidewalk, listen to the slap
of your flesh colored feet
on the concrete, the way dry skin
moves and whispers
under the hope of moisture.
I’m beginning to notice I forget
the things I should. Finally, there is space
to think about how a hand folds
to the contour of a jaw, supporting
the head, how my back bent cleanly,
without a wrinkle, over the crook of his arm
as he slid me into the dip of the dance,
cleanly, without a sigh, looking
at that last drop of sun
fall slowly over the sill.
C. Prudence Arceneaux, holds a BA from The University of New Mexico and an MFA from Southwest Texas State; a native Texan, she teaches English and Creative Writing at Austin Community College, in Austin, TX. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, including Limestone, New Texas, Whiskey Island Magazine, Hazmat Review, Inkwell and African Voices. A chapbook of her work, DIRT (2017), was awarded the 2018 Jean Pedrick Prize.