I Do Not Like Saying

On Willow Street at night
some drunk calls me a bitch
                  which my phone autocorrects to notch
Flowering branches dip over my head
                  no brush my hair softly
with scent so sweet
                  I search snowcap lilac, Amur chokecherry, different pears

Pear is of the finest grain woods
Used for woodwind instruments
Used

                  Is it self-centered to worry to say
I am        or is it better to focus on him
                  whom I didn’t see?
                  No, the subject of this poem is a tree
The object of this poem is objectification

I am struck at once by the lovely scent
like the perfume of a mother’s bosom
I am a child warm under the white of her arms

Bitch. Come over here. No, you’re an uppity bitch.
The petals mingle in my fringe, my eyelashes

Fuck you, bitch.
The sidewalk is warm from the memory of the sun

Murmurs of cunt. Of hate through lips unseen because
I do not                  turn to look
This is one of the many things I am taught not
to do. I check the dark backseat of my car as I get in.
Unclench the key from my fist.
Lock the doors and drive—drive past trees
buzz past their blossoms—blow past bitch. Beyond cunt.
Both held in one moment inseparable

If my mother reads this I want her to know
                  I do not like saying cunt in a poem either
                  I do not like looking away

Katherine Indermaur is an MFA candidate at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She began her studies after a five-year foray into the world of financial services. Before Colorado she lived in Laramie, Wyoming for three years and, before that, North Carolina.