You’ll like my big-girl outfit—
just make sure you get the signals right.
Once the collar’s set
and the cuffs, nod once to put ice in
my veins, twice and your kisses
turn to riddles, to favors punished.
Bedtime maxim vanished from the books,
under vows to make infraction sing.
Then harness me—for breaking—
and whisper to the docile dray
in heavy guise: uproot me here.
Pass quickly on the stairs
a girl undressing—you—
now hasten to the idol.
Do not take another step.
You’re free to go, if you wish
—it’s best at twilight—
and wait to be questioned.
I see it in the air,
permission somehow stolen,
I don’t understand who’s
in my place, a star like a blueprint
spreading from nail to calf,
an image of the engine. Tell me.
Daniel Tiffany's poems have appeared in The
Paris Review, The Germ, Denver Quarterly,
and elsewhere. His most recent book is Toy
Medium: Materialism and Modern Lyric.
Originally published in the April/May
2004 issue of Boston Review.