Almost Solitary

At two-fifteen,
the time that dancers rise,
I can only see the sky
as pretty Sunny swings
her muscled thigh over the sill 

and tumbles
out of clouds, a pile of unmade sheets, 
down foot-thick glass, a vine. 
She’s a siren,
partner in crime,
but try to handcuff her. Oh, no,
the time she does inside these walls
is strictly on her terms.

are you the stripper
from the joint on Hertel Ave?
Arms twined round
with gaudy jewels, gleam,
Bottom balanced
on a window-frame,
a small foot swings and beckons,

painted toes,
naked sole
pressed like lips to the floor below,
slither forth on coiled haunches,
like Martha Graham, contract,
expand, then puddle in a heap,
light spilling out
and off
and over.
Now scale the walls, a living thing,
spiral, wind, and tongue the bars
a drama queen, lean out sexy,
reach for me--all I can see 
is sky.
The sky is all I see.

There are no crying women,
coughing women,
scratching women,
women pulling out their eyelashes
and screaming.

No women waiting until dark to defecate.

No women sobbing on the phone
or playing cards or
sleeping, drooling,
staring blankly at a TV showing
old reruns of Cops.

No women missing children.
No women masturbating.
No women wearing uniforms
shackling other women’s wrists.

There are no other women.
There is only pretty Sunny
at two-fifteen, the time when dancers rise

I am standing at the window
with my ringraw cocaine eyes
with my fingers curled like gimme
with my head a whistling empty
with the creaking gate that swings
inside my chest

and the sky is all I see.
All I can see is sky.

Jennifer Maloney is a poet, playwright and author living in Rochester and is the current president of Just Poets, Inc. Her work can be found in, The Pangolin Review and Memoryhouse Magazine, and has been anthologized in numerous places including volumes 4 and 5 of the “Poets Speak, While We Still Can” series, Volume 7 of OutWrite, part of the prestigious Image Out Festival, and as a contest winner for “Women Speak: Portraits, Poetry and Prose of the Feminine Experience.” Jennifer recently founded and curates Just Poets Presents! a reading series featured each third Thursday at Nox Craft Cocktail Lounge in the Village Gate. Jennifer is happiest when writing, and when building community between writers. #PayThePoets!