posted Dec 1, 2009

Before the saw, the shout. Tonight, we’re out
of heights to fear. The gibbous slips
behind the clouds, a woman gone to change

her clothes on the far side of a paper screen.
You turn away, then back again.
Does she, in all her frockless waxing, see

you peeking? Lord, I used to want that look,
pressed in a paper album. Can
you list some names that only ruined things

are given? Martyr. Runoff. And bad girl
that I am, that I have always been,
I love this sickened river. Pressure me

against the bridge, against the windowsill.
Howl out to the thicket what I will
become when I am finally good and dead.

Natalie Shapero's poetry has appeared in Blackbird, FIELD, Poetry, Smartish Pace, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago.

We’ve published three more poems by Shapero: “Coconut,” “Our War,” and “Line.”