Strays

Leigh Anne Hornfeldt
Leigh Anne Hornfeldt

i.

Let’s call him something she said
bent over the veranda, breeze
lifting the silk babydoll
nightgown above her ass.
He sees all he wants now and then.
The steel in her jawline, the fractured
lily nestled under her panties.
We’ll just call him something, anything really —
you can’t name a thing you’re gonna leave
she said and he agreed and the palm trees
nodded their heads and that night they made love
on rough cotton sheets while the cat tightroped
the deck’s banister and the ocean worried
at the door’s wooden slats. Morning she let him
in again. Took the little loaf of his body
to her chest and breathed in that smell,
that island smell she could never name
even though she knew all the right words.

ii.

she craved necks
the warmth of jugular
the vulnerable pulse
came and went as she pleased
afternoons bawled
till she bloomed herself
inside out
coiled around an anonymous shoulder
kneading biscuits
a mink searching for a warm tit

iii.

Oh, she loved him.
She loved him, his face
gouged like the bottom
of a cast iron skillet. She loved
him. Pigeon-toed slink, low bee-hive
growl. She loved him. Litters
of crying kittens all over
the neighborhood. Vagabond.
No good drifter. She
loved him. Half-an ear missing
kind of love. Born out of pity.
I won’t leave you
no matter what you do
desperate kind that keeps
a woman in dark glasses
even at night, the kind
that makes a woman go
weak, weaker, weaker, gone.

iv.

Swore she wouldn’t keep him.
Each night tip-toed cold
stone to driveway’s edge,
packaged pink salmon in hand
Here, kitty, kitty
His soupy mew
from the storm drain,
her hands wringing themselves
dry, the sky’s pursed lips
and the dogs whining, always
whining through the window cracks,
eyes rolling in their thick, meaty skulls.

2 Comments

  1. I love this piece! Every time I read it I get something more out of it. The lines, “Half-an ear missing
    kind of love. Born out of pity…the kind that makes a woman go weak, weaker, weaker, gone” completely change the meaning of this poem and made me read it again. Great job.

  2. This is terrific. Very touching piece!

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