For to the Hungry Soul, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet – Clare Harmon

I.
Car-Honker.

Do not mess with me.
I will fuck you up.

You cat-caller.
You snout-faced ogler.

Go back to the cummy
sour-sticky hole
you call home.

Your glossies gummy
pornos, pictures
glassy-eyed.

And when you’ve
rubbed yourself raw

and you’re
sick at heart

think of me.

II.
You’re told to be grateful.
But what if you don’t want to be pet and held and ogled?

You’re supposed to signal thank you.
Wag and lick an unknown hand let a strange smell into your space.

You’re supposed to accept clucking
come-ons pretty dog and so on from leering sweaty folds lascivious grins.

I watch with disgust; I warned them.
Next time, sweetheart, next time, darling, bite their fingers and more.

III.
I can see your face in thick air
your Buddy Holly glasses
your sloping posture.

The first time I saw you naked I thought you looked proto-human
flacid apendage hanging a slight belly your back a field
of coarse black hair dotted with moles and scars.

Like a page out of a dated anthropology textbook.

Someday, I’m going to fuck you
and it’s going to be amazing.

Strange comfort in these words
but I would ask, how can you stand it?
Because I’ve seen your urges; I’m terrified

by them and I’m held hostage
by words and phrases I hate:
cum and cunt and clit.

And you, trembling and impotent,
you apologize for your lack,
your nerves and say again:

Someday I’m going to fuck you
and it’s going to be amazing.

IV
I like it when you look at me
I like it when you remind me
I am an object.

When you write a song
conflating my identity and
the taste of candy.

I like it.
And I know I shouldn’t:
I should be horrified.

In my mind I call up my reading and research
Feminist phenomenology and Levinasian ethics
thingbodies agency Foucauldian force relations

I should leave when you say:
Someday I’m going to fuck you
and it’s going to be amazing.

But I stay
because I like it.
I like it when you desire me.

I like it when you cannot resist
I like it when you tell me I’m sexy
that you could cum at any second.

It’s part of my game:
I withhold until the last
watch you shrivel and sigh.

(you can’t believe your timely performance is wasted)

Your back is turned
and I’m stroking your belly from behind
caressing your forearms tracing your browline.

For this reenactment of trauma
for this role-reversal power-play I perform,

for this game,
for this time, I won.

Clare Louise Harmon holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Minnesota. She later pursued graduate studies in music performance under the tutelage of Yuri Gandelsman and Marcie Ray at Michigan State University. As a burgeoning musicological scholar, Clare has been invited to present her research and writing at symposia and conferences in Europe, New Zealand, South America, and throughout the United States. From 2011-2012, Clare taught violin, viola, and chamber music at Drake University. At present, she is working toward completion of an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. Her poems will be published in forthcoming issues of Quaint and PANK Magazines.

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