Wednesday Sep 20

DuhamelDenise Denise Duhamel is the author, most recently, of Ka-Ching! (U of Pittsburgh P, 2009), Two and Two (U of Pittsburgh P, 2005), Mille et un Sentiments (Firewheel, 2005) and Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (U of Pittsburgh P, 2001). A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.

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THE TEST

 
my friend explained it was important
to make him do something he doesn’t want to do
to show that he loves you
but doesn’t that just make him resent you
I asked and she said no
that I would also do something I didn’t want to do
like go to a demolition derby full of foul men
and he’d think I was a fun girl up for anything
I asked her how to interpret his silence
since it was hard to know if it was the silent treatment
or if he felt so comfortable with me he didn’t need to speak
was the quiet full of electricity she asked
couldn’t tell
all I smelled was burning rubber
since I thought I’d go first with this test thing
which my friend explained was my first mistake
when I asked him why people would deliberately
smash up cars on a muddy track
he said shush and later called me stuck up
and too arty
he wouldn’t go to a foreign film
so I gave him an “F” but let him take a make up
he could bring me to the mall and buy me something
anything even a soft-serve ice cream
which he did but then it got weird
maybe we’re just not compatible
I said to my friend who said relationships are work
I already had a history project due and a part time job
don’t hate me but I think I’m going to dump him
I said to my friend when I realized
the only thing he and I had in common was bowling
but bowling is good she insisted
don’t throw it all away because you’re picky
he said fine
but sounded angry when I told him I couldn’t
make it to the monster truck jam
the prom was the final exam
I still wanted a date but there were months to go
with many pop quizzes and tests
before then he met another girl who loved wrecks
 
 

 
Don’t I Know You?

 
Rooster, preener, catcaller,
the “Let me tell you about that…” chap.
Devil’s advocate, waitress flatterer,
customer service flirt. Convertible driver,
gadget hoarder, man cave carpenter,
that “Has anyone ever told you…?” guy.
 
I know you get that a lot.  I get it—
I’m a blushing giggler, a loosey goosey
fumbler of keys, a doe-eyed femme fatale,
a stewardess in a kerchief looking for a lift,
a gal with a sink that needs to be fixed,

a hair twirler, an intent listener.