sour heat of the taxicab                   my thighs stuck by sweat to the 
leather in the aperture of the sunless hours i sit scarved in
the quiet that i think will protect me i’ve spent days inside &
untouched by human noise & i forget the lesson in the old
hurts that mark my kneaded body & sometimes i do not even
register the hands that steer the vehicle the man from which
they protrude until his eyes in the mirror hook the light & i see his want
thrusting into the backseat a leer scraping like a fingernail along
my skin dumb prey shut in the cage with its wolf while his
looking catalogs my edible parts gleaming in stripes by the streetlights &
hushed in brief sanctuary by the dark & the silence i’ve
gathered will throb when he asks is this where you live & i work to keep my face
unchanged & maybe sometime in the dimming past i was still
unmarked my girlhood body unoccupied by warning its curiosity still free
to extend to a strange or recognized hand engineering an
unfamiliar ache before my shame became my native tongue became the
sovereign of my flesh i had my milkteeth smiled green as a seedling in photographs
in their silence i was pure & cloistered & i did not yet need to take inventory for my body to feel like mine the driver’s eyes displace me &
leave behind a list of ways i can be hurt of all the places i am a door
its use unaltered by my yes or no outside the streetlights change to a bridge’s
trusses & i say nothing the car points into a borough not my own while i watch
the distance swell between my watching & the slab of girl fastened to the backseat
useless little carcass so faraway in her smallness & already going missing already
bored by pain & sometimes even those whose touch i choose who mean me
only tenderness will with their smell or voice or a trick of the light or the
faintest touch of an index finger trip the latch that lets me out to the space above my
peeled & emptied rind when i return i tell this to my lover who braids himself to me
& makes me new who takes into his mouth my broken name & in an exhale of
smoke it emerges weathered but complete & still mine until i remake myself
from stillness & drape myself in the life of a different girl rupture smoothed
over like the noiseless surface of a lake & in the taxi i look out to the evening’s
copper bruising i give directions i push away his looking & feel my body
reinflate i dial my lover’s voice the car points homeward & my old panic
melts back into its archive when he fills the backseat with sound & maybe i can be
reborn as a girl who does not go missing a girl someone will look for
no longer the decorative husk men make me with their want the quiet shrinks & i come
unstuck from the leather i come unstuck from my hurts pay my fare & debark the car
untouched my home protrudes like a lighthouse from the night i settle
the body mine to register