Wednesday, April 18, 2012

NPM: Becoming the Other Woman by Heather Foster

I discovered Heather Foster's work recently when I read two of her poems on Metazen (where I also recently had two poems published). I loved them so much I googled her and left a comment on her website. We've talked a bit back and forth and she's graciously given me permission to post her poem, "Becoming the Other Woman".  Her detailed and colorful descriptions in this piece makes me feel like I'm right there in the room watching the scene unfold. The mark of a great storyteller.

Becoming the Other Woman

Inside the Indian restaurant,
I ask the hostess for a seat
beside you. Your black hair is
pulled back messily. You crack
pistachios with your fingers
and eat them with fat dates.
You sip Masala tea, listen
to Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma
bellowing out from the brass
morning glory pavilion.
I catch your husband’s eye.
He is handsome as a mango. I stare
and feel the vibrato, the stick of hot
skin, sweat to leather, that
same long end note I could hold

to be you, to have him,
perhaps have you both.
Legs crossed, I squeeze
a quick, hard rhythm, eyes fixed
on his thick fingers tapping the table,
on your soft hand scooping up
hot curried goat with a piece
of charred garlic naan.
I watch your mouth.

You both look at the portrait
hanging on the warm orange wall
of a perfectly naked woman,
who has hair like a dark river,
eyes eggplant-black, a belly
smooth as coconut custard.

And I am the woman
in the painting, naked,
eating curry with my hands,
my wedding ring
around the left erect nipple,
his around the right,
one silver, one gold, the smoky
cumin, sauce-stained
fingers, the steady backlight.
April is National Poetry Month.

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