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Ruth Williams

In the exit-window on my hotel room:
a red cord, swinging.
A red chord, singing.

I mistyped.

Like this, I kept mis-lighting
myself on vacation.

I stole my grandmother’s ring,
wore it every day. Baedecker heart
nostalgic for engagement.

Bottle-eyed, I was tourisma.
in a panoramic view.

In squares, pigeons flew
hymnatical from my palms. My head
a cooing flicker, I drew
rickshaws wherever I went.

I had packed a suitcase full
of white handkerchiefs, so I let
every man that called to me
guide me.

To be pick-pocketed
exotically is to be touched.
My white palm at a red chord,
exit window along a dark-skinned wrist.

So I kissed the foreign men.
That was my indulgent appetite,
my American largesse.

I paid well
to make them wait
all afternoon.

Ruth Williams

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