Mysterious Acts by My People
They say you can get two redheads
for the price of one in this town.
I myself have held most. Kinky
boots and cat suits; the votaries
of tight-lacing; trickledown perversion.
In this town we share a constant frenzy
to disguise. Pages turn. Footsteps rustle
the dust. Combs glide through hair.
Straighten your wig and oil my tattoos.
Ponder the liquification of clothes.
More of my bones were broken in hospitals
than the playground, a corrective violence
done to heal my deformities.
The shoe as weapon and wound.
I drag my unreliable leg on the left.
I am not in the mood for song.
The piano is covered in soot and I listen
as nails are filed, costumes mended.
Valerie Wetlaufer is a birth doula, teacher, and poet. She holds a PhD in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Utah, an MFA from Florida State University, and an MA in Teaching from Bennington College. Her poetry collection Mysterious Acts by My People is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press in 2014.