poetry

ursula

the poet says “troy”

this reminds Ursula
of something

“god works in mysterious
ways”

“if I ever have a boy
I am going to name
him Troy”

she looks at me

“I have twins you know”

I do know this
because everyone knows this
I listen intently
perched on the edge
of a decaying
cafeteria chair

she continues

“they are girls”

“they are named after
bible characters”

I know more than she
offers

she doesn’t tell me that
the twin girls
named after bible characters
were taken last year
by a balding man
and his silent accomplice
conjoined grim reapers
c/o the department of social services

they were taken
because she lives
in a cardboard box
and does the things men ask her to do
in exchange for food and protection

she’s electric
a fallen powerline–
when I am near her
in a public library
9 am on a Wednesday morning a heterosexual woman
I think about
sex

she makes the men at our table nervous
with unflinching eye contact
and spaghetti straps
I watch them drown
in her flood

the man
who consumed her body

“Bobby Wilson”

gave her HIV
along with
those identical heartbeats
and was never seen
again

Alan says something now
he says

“what is going to be Troy’s
last name?”

everyone laughs
they know about
Ursula
they know about what she
does

“well I can tell you
one thing,
it sure as hell
ain’t gunna
be Wilson”

she laughs
and only
then do
I laugh

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