Tonight my housemate tells me every man
who gets to fuck her must first
pull out her tampon.

Intimate deception leads, inimically,
to open caves of isolation.

I spend a lot of time willing myself
into desire and failing.

Watch engine haze distort the sky
on flights coming in from the south.
Find a lover with whom you can play
at one another like country fiddles. You
are going to get old. Maybe you already are.

Overstated my capacity to wake in the morning.
My body has never felt under threat by another,
my body has never felt overly desired, hounded.
My body has been graciously and ungraciously
received. Others have cleaned it, others
have made it filthy. No one has hurt me.

A mute child clawed at my face once,
but he was not strong. When strangers’ hospitality
is your livelihood, it is important to follow
the every ritual of your host.

Nate Duke.jpeg

Nate Duke is pursuing a PhD at Florida State University. He holds an MFA from the University of Montana.