Pig Shit Epiphany by Tawni Waters


Remember in the Bible
when David played his lyre
and Saul’s demons fled?
You are that to me.
You sing,
and my shattered soul quiets.

you shuffle into my dreams
wearing just a white T-shirt
and ripped up jeans
smiling awkwardly
like you aren’t sure your lips are right
maybe showing too much teeth
or not enough,
and I think I would like
to press my mouth against yours
just to let you know
your face is perfect,
and the way you shuffle
outshines Bing Crosby’s fancy footwork
any old day.

When we speak in the real world
the one where cats don’t fly
in Milwaukee bars
and Chicago parking lots
and Mexican cantinas
you amble toward me,
hands hiding in pockets,
and mutter my name.
Just that,
like if you say more,
maybe I will notice your lisp
and think less of you
when really,
the only sound I have ever heard
in this world
that beats out your lisp
was the first time
I heard frogs serenading
a purple spring night.

You pray the lyrics
in your songs
each syllable a holy thing
measure them out carefully
mustn’t give too much away.

I ask myself what I want sometimes
from a man
and they all grin
such splendid teeth
make offers
like used car salesmen
only they are hawking used penises.
“Get it cheap,
almost new
slightly dented hood.”
So slick.

There is nothing slick about you.
You are dusty.
Your boots have seen pig shit.
I love you for that,
and sometimes I imagine
maybe you’d allow me to say it.
“I love you.”
It wouldn’t be a breach of contract
or a contract at all.
It would just be what it is.
A statement of miraculous fact.

I don’t know that I’ll ever lie
entwined in your arms.
I don’t know if I even need to
because at night
when the cold becomes
a sin that slits my skin
like razor blades
your voice slides through my speakers
warms me.
I wrap up in your words
and sleep.
When I wake in the morning
the first thing
I think is
your voice
saying a holy word.
Just one.
My name.

I spent my life believing
I wanted a cool man
an artist with expertly rumpled hair
who smoked cigarettes
while strumming his guitar
and saying brilliant things about
God and Picasso and Marxist theory.
I wanted him to explain wine to me.
What I realized last night
when I dreamed your voice
was the last thing I want
is cool.

The only thing I want is you
praying my name
smiling shyly
shuffling toward me in your
dusty, pig shit boots.
I want to see what
you hide in your pockets
I mean, besides your hands.

About Tawni Waters