> QUICKLY THEY TURN | tonya kelley

Reading this book I can hardly
Contain the sick intervention

And the wholly unkind. He's
Using her like the rag doll, street

Pimp, flowers and baskets in
The window of the brigade novelty

Store on the fifth avenue circuit.
This room is full of readers all

Knowing what I know and reading
Their way out of the mousetraps,

Pulling up the rugs to find some
Sense and hearty devotion.

I knew this man before the books
Were out. Before the floors were

Torn to splinters, before I paid a
Visit to the Cloisters. I was in a

Broken shirt in a third avenue state
Of chemical upheaval when all I

Wanted was a dim sum and a radio
Show and a goddamn you're deep.

The indulgent compulsive learning
Was only a handicap sticker for our

Tour bus and a duffle bag hitchhiker.
As I read the work dated yesterday,

I understand how he's forgotten me.

> BIOGRAPHY | about the author

Tonya Kelley is a poet who lives in Connecticut and author of Unsexy and The First Person.