#Not All Men

Jessica Lohafer


Good girls press their blouses together,
saving heat and time, the iron quick
with its cut and fold, slight spray
cementing its creases

Good girls have hidden nothing
in their hearts, save the solemn
vow of chastity that they blow
light from their lips, dandelion

ready to bloom but for the cold
keeping its petals dead and caught.
You know you can catch them,
their naked knees reminding you

of Adam’s inheritance, their father’s will
read at the beginning of each century,
its sticky and sour causing paper cuts
and calamity, lust as life in prison

Good girls are only too happy
to serve time, greedy for gold stars
and grocery store perfume, delighted,
they take the catwalk towards the deli

sliced meat piled high like a love letter
              they can’t ignore, a ten page vignette
from the sullen boy in their high school
math class. They know not to make him angry,

wouldn’t risk the life of their long
legs with the quick puncture
of refusal, better to drag the blade
at the corners of the lips, brighter

smiles and certainty, they know
you just really need something
to count on, and at the end of a hard day
there’s nothing like a cold beer,

excavated from the icebox of their tits,
blue tipped nipples making room
for your thirst. Good girls know
to love the land they were built on

Hard timber spreading as far as
the eye can see, ballroom dancing
across bowling alley lanes, the walls
a chorus of crepe paper and cigarette ash

Good girls know how to get the yellow smudge
of nicotine out of their nail beds, keep their
calcium and French manicures tidy like Borax, like
fine china, like the Constitution. You can count on them 

to be hairless as a newborn baby, so innocent, so dull
You’ll want to pass them around to your business partners
Exchange glances and celebratory cigars, proud daddies,
baptizing them in bourbon and shrugged shoulders, smirking

Good girls can keep their mouths shut, a tight fit, promise
to hide the hatchet, refuse the wound, help themselves
to its inconsistent bleeding, can be caught calling it
the cherry syrup in their mother’s pie recipe, can be

caught helping themselves to an open bag of flour,
tongues parting lines like roller skates, drunk
on the dust, snow angels on the kitchen linoleum
Good girls are cold all year round, anxious for you

to eat the dinner you’ve earned, all twenty one percent of it
They’ll feed you years of mashed potatoes, make stew
from their sighing and spite, slice bread with their lady razor,
proudly pink and pardoned. Bon appetit! they say, sparking,

Dig in! they say, snapping as they set the table,
set your liver in green jello, eyeing your better parts
for the red. You’re their cherry blossom, their best boy, don’t you
run so fast, come here, let them show you how they love you.



Jessica Lohafer's work has appeared in Red Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women, The Noisy Water Review, Your Hands, Your Mouth, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, What’s Left to Be Done, was published by Radical Lunchbox Press in 2009. She holds an MFA in poetry from Western Washington University and coordinates the Chuckanut Writer's Conferences. Contact her at jessicalohafer.com.

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