Slut


Sophia Loren had just dropped ice cubes down her blouse,

the morsels pooling beneath her breasts and Walter Matthau,

momentarily entranced then grown wise to the game,

called her a             nag before she stormed out of the bar

right into Ann Margaret, who told her she looked                  beautiful.

Loren scanned the lengths of her body, then said in a slow, warm voice

I look like a               slut. When I ask my mother what a slut

is, her eyebrows disappear into her hair and her hands slip

as she fixes dinner for my father. A woman who                  sells her body

for money, she says, laying thick slices of warm ham on his plate

and sometimes I still think she meant what I imagined:

women who hack off their feet with saws, spoon their eyeballs

out of the sockets and let the blood and oil drip down their faces

into their open mouths, sit in a bath of ice with scalpel and carve out

the cool, rounded contours of the kidney, then auction the pieces off

to hospitals or criminals or private owners who need extra parts.

My mother opens the oven to remove the sourdough.

But it’s not                   a nice word she says as she leans over,

cringing at the heat, her head disappearing inside that hot, metal box.

Copyright © 1999-2017 Juked