Two poems · Suzanne Rindell

Etymology of a Lie

Your words spread out from you
In perfect concentric circles like
Pond ripples running in rings, moving away
From the lie dropped in the center.

I watch them widen and radiate
Worried about the light they’ll cast
Upon this perfect concentric love.

Concentric: having a center in common.

To love is to absorb, digest, engross.
I chew on your lie like a piece of bubblegum;
Something to spit out once it’s lost its flavor.

I’ll unfold your lie, dig at the roots.
Abomasum: the fourth digesting chamber of the cow’s stomach.
When will we learn? We never save the best for last.
We need better tools for such rude anatomies.

Concavoconcave: hollow on both sides.
I am empty. I tell myself
This is my last chance for an epiphany.

Repulsion: two magnets flipped on the wrong sides.
Attraction: one must face away.

Concealment: a place or means of hiding, the space
Between the hollows, the strongbox in which
To preserve love.

Doll Parts

The young woman parts
Her slick plastic lips
And shouts quivering war whoops over the hum
Of the Sunday book-browsers milling about the

In these times
We make our own words:
Superchainstore, postmoderntimes, neofeminist.
But these are not new words;
They are old parts.

She says tearing holes in
The fabric of society will set us free.
I picture little armies of high-heeled women wriggling
Through tiny moth holes
In my mother’s kitchen cardigan
They spill onto the butcher block – free at last!

Nobody makes love to the establishment.
I walked by Winter Garden Theater every day that autumn,
Glad to see Cats finally banished
Until I realized nothing was there
But a deserted theater, an empty façade.
Next week an old ally cat
Will dance next to the anointed Lion King.

In this void I worry nothing grows.
We’ve cut off our penises
In spite of our husbands
Clipped Ally McBeal’s emaciated figure
Out of Cosmo magazine for refrigerator magnet publication
We’ve let fat bald men marry off “femi” to “nazi”
During an unsuspecting rush hour
And Barbie dolls still gyrate their
Motorized hips
In little hot pink boxes, windows the shapes of hearts.

Oh, those mechanical parts
Her plastic lips move like wings beating in the wind
Floating over me like a hot air balloon,
Rearranging words, calling in the demolition crew
Spreading her insecurity wide, then tight, then wide.

I listen and pucker eighty-year-old lips into a purse of silence.
These are all doll parts, my dear;
Assemble with care.