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2018

Dorsey Craft

WILLIE LEE’S WOMAN SPEAKS

after Johnny Cash’s “Cocaine Blues”

You had the dark eyebrows I was hankering,
       and a voice plodded along like a mule cart

and my thighs bounced with your drum, remember
       spreading their velvet vast on the edge

of your bed, the sink of mattress soft as felt,
       my heavy curls traced your lips and theirs:

five worshippers of upper arms pressed wide
       against the body, harmony of flesh on flesh.

The Lord’s mercy is a slip of green silk to sing
       the auburn, skin that clings to belly-fold

and down-turned breast. My apology from you
       is a whistle from the nose, fast beat songs

struck against the side of our bed, and you
       could kill me every night and never take

my perfume from their budding tongues, never
       steal the whisper of my powder from between

their fingers. Your oil slick black throat bubbles
       and hacks the gravel around my graying ear,

that concrete screech in the red behind your throat
       enough to wake a woman shot down.


Dorsey Craft holds degrees from Clemson University and McNeese State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, Rhino Poetry, and elsewhere. She is currently a Ph.D student in poetry at Florida State and the Assistant Poetry Editor at The Southeast Review.