Dora Malech: Two Poems

Face For Radio

As usual I am unusually tired.
All night my fingers double-crossed me,
tangled up in someone else’s hair.
Breakfast is sand with a promise of pearls.
If I were an operation, I’d be fly-by-night
and very bloody. If I were a sow,
I’d be hog-tied. I was born under
the sign of the toy breed, the yapper,
if you will—and I will—on the cusp
of bikini season. Somersaults,
cartwheels. Call me poorly executed.
Call me late for dinner and a regrettable
houseguest, wet towel on the bed.
Call me go-getter, meaning going going gone.
If anyone needs me I’ll be at the arcade
across from the fire station, shooting
the teeth off the cardboard clown.
If you give me a dollar I’ll take
my top off and let you see my heart.

Quick Study

Put a hold on the have and to hold’em’s a game,
bets half-cocked at the big dogs, one shoe
on and running, chicken’s a nickname
and nick’s just a cut. Let me get you

where you want me, paint on some tight pants
and varnish the town. Call means I’ve got
your number. Fold means no chance,
each night cut from the same bolt

of cloth. Never say never mind,
never turn your back to back or show
your hand in mine. What’s mine
is minor but it still feels good to know

you and I could be big blind and small blind,
Adam and odds and even Eden this time.

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