Five Poems

Rachel B. Glaser

Old nylon underwear

with a nickel-sized hole in the lining of the crotch
you expect nothing of me

handed down by my mother
and her mother before her
you’re so big and loose
you don’t care what happens

while it snowed in the ‘80s
you sat in a drawer
during the fall of the Berlin Wall
you sat in a different drawer

you reach my belly button
you fading beauty
my husband makes fun of you

you are so synthetic
I could totally see you lost
in an abandoned disco
like a time capsule

I will never get rid of you
you connect me to something
you were alive during Vietnam
do you know words or just sense things?

There’s a face behind the door

I can feel it
vines curl around whatever
I can’t see the face 
but I can almost hear it
waterfalls race through the night
flowers wilt in vases
there’s a face behind the door
a crab in the shell or a pearl or whatever
submit to it!
I can’t
I sit in my idling car
I finger the internet 
everything corrodes
I join the strangers in the message boards
there’s a face behind the door
someone in the light
we recycle our plastic in vain
we cower in the empty truth
we try vegetarian meat
machines whirr 
therapists cry
I am called by a force
from inside a closet
I am sick of people
but what is a person?
an annoyance of love
a hustle of nerves
a walker of needs
a hand grabbing more than it can hold 

Whenever I’m dealt a queen I’m always pleased to see her

a prominent nose
a rounded chin
a solemn look like her soup’s gone cold

often there’s another in the flop
looking at something across the room
vague disappointment in her heavy eyes
like someone’s about to be hung

two help my odds
a third makes me money

queens make me feel good
a woman in power is tantalizing
admired then cut down 
she invented all of this
she birthed you and raised you
she loved you and pushed you off the doorstep

it’s an ancient game
that ruins lives
and makes us happy
queens are always in it
but they’re not really smiling
they lose to a king every time

Aces under

it doesn’t guarantee anything
but you’re flying 
high above the table

like a butterfly they landed on you
and now you’re holding two candles 

you’re white-hot lava
the gate is open
the aisle clear
your eyes lit with obscenely good news

aces under can get you into night clubs
they cut through metal
they clear up rashes

they nod to the moon
summon a sleeping god 
make contact with the dead 

they build a castle out of clouds
but then the clouds go poof

when aces get beat they can’t admit it
they’re insistent like religion
folding them feels like throwing out a whole pizza

still they must mean something
two swords floating in purgatory 
rare flowers that open at night

I let you talk on about the world as if I were your student and you were right

all talk is vanity
and all writing in vain

you wave hello in the nightmare
years before when I still see it as a dream

I read D.H. Lawrence’s landscape descriptions
waiting for the sisters to disrobe
I’ve seen this grassy meadow before
the stream
a pond
I turn the page
philosophy is foreplay
and the foreplay lasts for hundreds of pages

get nasty with me, D.H.
I know you could describe it so well

the grass is impossibly soft
the sketchbook falls into water

you only want me every seven years
you lay in your grave
on your stomach

I’m less lonely when I see a moon out the window
when some dead freak is telling me her story
while lives pass invisibly on all sides

the baby curls its hand in its sleep
the child plays the game again and again
the 14-year-old is dressed like she’s 25 and pretending to be 29

make my boredom luxurious

lay me on a piano

strip me like a bed

or just take me back to the field
and talk about free will
and the downfall of man

I’m listening but I just hear the ocean
the grass waves in the wind in the meadow
a stream trickles past wet rocks

the mind is a diary 
and God wants us to fuck
Rachel B. Glaser is the author of the poetry books, MOODS and HAIRDO, as well as two books of fiction. She lives in Northampton, MA and teaches fiction at the low-residency Mountainview MFA.