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Callaloo 23.1 (2000) 125
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Living as a Lesbian at Forty-Five *
Part 1: In the Family
Oh, it's a frequent dream:
He (He?) comes home hot and
You're in your room and wanting too
but wanting to control and orchestrate
so you can get it without really
acknowledging it will have a past
one way or another
in concert or in solitude
your juices built up from the day
in the mood to take yourself
you set your works and toys out
even though he knows you're a lesbian
there are those times
he still loses his crotch
in the part of your ass through your dress.
And that's how it happens
and it doesn't happen just once
and you may have work like poetry
to do like now and it starts
and you run
and get your accoutrements
in excessive solitude
and space ephemeral with wetness.
Cheryl Clarke, poet, is the author of Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women, Living as a Lesbian, Humid Pitch, and Experimental Love. She is currently working on a new collection, Corridors of Nostalgia.
* from Experimental Love (Firebrand, 1993). Reprinted by permission of the author.