For Colleen who was repeatedly asked
to use her quiet voice, to revise
her choice in men, hair color,
something quieter, something softer,
something that didn't arouse the attention
of poorly lit street corners and short tempers,
who tried to renounce the name blondie
every night at half past six and promptly forgot.
For Colleen of busy brothers, and low stools,
of plastic beads and a brown hat
she meant to buy on pay-day, which sits
on a headless mannequin in the window
at 2nd and Pike, framing a 34 B cup
in faceless intrigue, odorless, mindless
of hatred that creeps by in bourbon skin
and exposes itself to the shop girls in the night.
For Colleen who's high-heeled boots
retired early, who swaggered
through cran and vodkas, counting off the names
of unfaithful comedians and unbearable foods.
For Colleen who had to freshen up,
who I hardly knew enough to speak of,
who wore thin hips,
who skipped shirt buttons and phone calls
and bared her teeth in desperation
as though she already knew the stench
of a broken down door, a brusque hello,
a brother calling through the silence of Sunday
for Colleen, who lived close, confronted vice
and insisted on waking herself.
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