Tamara Madison


ANIMAL


I love the animal in you
the warm fur of your haunches
your tender underbelly
the soft bass of your heartbeat
your growl and your purr

I love the feral fighter in you
that can snap a neck and shake
the limpened body like a toy,
that can wrest if it must
the crimson viscera
from its fang-torn housing

I love the mother in you
and the father who can call
the frightened young
to your heart with one kind
motion and remind it that life
can be a loving and a safe place
like the cushioning womb
of the human in you.

 

ONE

If one were the only subject pronoun
one could use then one would have
a difficult time saying ordinary things.
One would have to be less direct,
one would have to beat, so to speak,
around the bush.

One would be safer, less exposed
for one could voice one's opinions
as though one's opinions belonged
to someone else: "One thinks
that too strong a metaphor," or
"One wishes that car would get off
one's ass." Or even "That dress
does make one's butt look big."

There would be no more accusations:
One would say instead, "Why did one leave
the back door unlocked?" or
"It seems one has forgotten to pay
the electric bill although one was reminded
to do so," or "Not tonight, dear, one has
a headache."

With all other pronouns made extinct,
one would speak easily in imperatives—
"Shut up!" "Sit down!" and, in fact,
"Please hand over that gold-plated pearl-
handled seven-bladed pocket knife
before one calls the cops on one's ass."

The world will be simpler then, without
the likes of You or Me or They who,
when you think about it, have caused
this world an awful lot of senseless
time-wasting confusion with statements
like "He's hitting me!" and the greatest
trouble-maker of all, "I love you."