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March 16, 2011 by The Citron Review

by Ruth Foley


I let you know at once that I am
not this kind of woman.
The rest of it took months:
the brush of hair against your shoulder
as I leaned close to tell you something at a party
that let you know I thought
we were above our company.
The single drop of perfume
on the ridge of bone behind my ear,
warming uselessly, waiting
for the night you thought I didn’t notice you
until you bent forward from behind
my chair to buss my cheek hello.
My indifference. Other conversations.
Finally, you step towards me
and I step back, a sort of challenge
until my back is flat against the wall
and another fucking senseless party swirls
around us, and still I pretend I know
nothing, even as tonight’s drop of perfume
rises from beneath my blouse, as you take
my half-full wineglass, set it on a windowsill
with yours, press me with sudden
certainty between the cool plaster
and your chest, your thigh, one hand
behind my head, the other on
the wall beside my ear, then light inside
my collar, still thinking you are taking
me, and if these people you call
your friends notice this, or notice when
we leave, it’s clear that you have gone
beyond giving even half a shit.
And later, when we’ve both had
what I knew at once we wanted,
when you ask me what we’ve done
and use God’s name again
in this new context, I’ll tell you
I don’t know, I don’t know.


Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her recent work is appearing or forthcoming in River Styx, Measure, The Ghazal Page, and Umbrella, which just nominated one of her poems for a Pushcart Prize. She also serves as Associate Poetry Editor for Cider Press Review.


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