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Amanda Auchter

Pink Bedroom (Odalisque)

You Offer Me the Lamp Your Wife Is Throwing Out

Pink Bedroom (Odalisque)

after Richard Tuschman

I’ve tried to tempt you out, to lie 
     naked, my back 

to the wall, to say
    there are only two 

rooms in this love, come back to bed
      but you say that is your bed, this is 

your dream       wake up 

      I didn’t mean to say 
so much — there is always too much, 

       my desire as performance,
as disappointment, my cigarette 

      rising its pale sigh of smoke, 

my thighs opening for your mouth. In 
       the mirror, I rest my cheek against 

my palm, curve of my bare hips, 
      my breasts, sun on my red hair. 

In the other room, you 
read the morning paper, scratch 
your toe against the red carpet. 

      And how could I not
ask you to come back,

to wander in and say I remember 

      these pink walls, the blue vase 
on the vanity, the yellow curtains,

to run your fingertips along my spine, 
to lie to me and say yes             yes                                                                                                                  

      it was always you

Wake up, love. 

The daylight is growing dim on the floor. 

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You Offer Me the Lamp Your Wife Is Throwing Out

Such a pretty thing,
your wife’s lamp— 

in the kitchen next to the telephone 
bills and your coffee cups.

You and I have been such beautiful 
wreckage, such blue fire. 

You offer me her old lamp and all day I go on 
and off. My face flickers at each place 

you have kissed. I tie and untie 
our knots until I expose every 

nerve like a raw wire. I do not want
her lamp, its cheerful 

brass switch. I do not want 
to walk into my bedroom and have it 

on my nightstand watching me 
like a suspicious housewife. 

At the other end of this cord 
that we keep trying to break, 

I have grown to love 
the darkness. I am 

shutting off all our lights, 
smashing every glass bulb.

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Amanda Auchter the author of The Wishing Tomb, winner of the 2013 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry and the 2012 Perugia Press Book Award, and The Glass Crib, winner of the 2010 Zone 3 Press First Book Award for Poetry. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming at The Huffington Post, CNN, Crab Creek Review, The Indianapolis Review, The West Review, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day project. Follow her on Twitter: @ALAuchter. 

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