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  • Come and Find Me, and: Carriage House on John Street, Providence, RI
  • Zinzi Clemmons (bio)

Come and Find Me

I have unnaturally long legsThe calves sit highThe curve to the inlet—the part you know    steeper than you are used toThe fleshy heels, like the underside of my lip    a shade brighter

It looks different on meI could show you

I could give you my addressYou could find me

I will open the door for youWe could move furniture and    overturn glassesDrop clothing and spill wine

I will do this for youI will let you see my body    touch itPluck my hairs andTweak my breasts

My nipples aren’t those little moles perfect for biting    and cradling in thin lipsI have only breasts    and ends of breasts, only darker

I will give you pills and smokewe could get so highAnd bang on the floors    on the wallsI will give you wine that you can spill on my carpetI will drop to my kneesAnd scrub it with the hem of my skirt    backside in the air

Someone told me once to never let go of my maskAnother told me to burn itI will lay mine on the table and angle my face to the lamplightI will let you see itHold my jaw in your fingersAnd examine my poresThe ridges under my eyes and    the fuzz on my lip

You can kiss it if you want to    my swollen lips    my sour breathI will let you hold meand abuse the places you want to [End Page 441]

If you like it, you can stayEat everything in my refrigeratorEmpty the pantryLeave the dishes dirtyI will wash them for youI will wear what you want me to

When you leave, don’t leave a note on the kitchen counterDo not leave moneyDon’t call or send flowersI will know where you’ve goneI will stay in my house repairing the damage you’ve doneI will wax the floors    I will wear holes in themMy hands will keep scrubbingunable to forget the motion

Carriage House on John Street, Providence, RI

One living room, kitchenBathroom downstairs with clawfoot tub

We ripped up the carpeting and stained the floor a dark brown.You could see the basement light through the holes in the floorboards

We spoke to each other from separate roomsWe listened to each others’ stereos; he watched my television from the hallway.

A ghost lived in the kitchenA slave womanWith dark skin and hair wrapped in fabric.A subletter saw her one summer watching calmly over the stove.

We ate Domino’s andlet the dishes pile in the sink.When I had no moneyI made toast at my boyfriend’s house.

Which house would you haunt—OursOr the mansion in frontWith three floors and a hot tub?

We never saw her andI never heard her wailingAny doors banging at night.All we held as proof was fearAnd a vague sorrow [End Page 442]

Zinzi Clemmons

Zinzi Clemmons is a candidate in Columbia University’s MFA program in Fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree in creative writing and critical theory from Brown University. Her writing has appeared in Transition and elsewhere. She is currently at work on her first novel, about an AIDS clinic worker who has a relationship with a patient. She lives in Philadelphia.



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pp. 441-442
Launched on MUSE
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