“How Alice Might Have Felt” by Julie deGarie

Image by Deanna Larsen

In the lush yellow light before the storm,
I ask you for your autograph. I’m jittery,
a half-tame wolf bitch poised to bolt
across the emptying bar. We talk–
you over beer, me over whiskey, glass
rocks-cold and skinned in water–
until thunder heaves the pregnant air.
You grasp the hem of my skirt, run
your fingers between skin and fabric
like a bee exploring the petals of a lily,
leaving tufts of stars in your wake.

Outside, the rain fuses neon to asphalt.
In here we’re just the same: slick and wet
and falling, falling down the rabbit hole. Perhaps
if we’d fallen far enough, we’d have found
that strange still place where I didn’t wish
I’d worn my favourite black silk bra, didn’t make
you prove you had a condom, and you didn’t
have to ask what I liked because you already knew.

Instead we land like novice paratroopers:
awkward, a jumble of limbs,
my hips in your lap, your arm around my rib cage,
and you’re thrusting, thrusting, never reaching my heart.


Julie deGarie was born near the water and now lives in the mountains. She has been writing poetry off and on for several years, but has just recently gotten serious about it. She agrees with Richard Hugo’s assertion that truth should conform to music.

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