I admit I am not loyal.
That my womb moves and votes for the other guy.
That is my right, and my womb’s right, as I know
you’ll understand, personal responsibility
being so eminent among your concerns,
so important to us all, how we take care of ourselves
and then others, the burlap of our community
woven of such acts of self-preservation
before generosity. Cathy,
remember that time you brought cake
to the block party but no serving stuff,
no forks or plates? How you fed each of us,
all the way down the block, with your clean,
efficient hands? The miracle of our patience?
Each time you lifted the cake to our faces,
we grew in gratitude.
We had watched this ritual bestowed
upon the people before us,
on Tammy and Russ and Steve,
and we were slack with anticipation,
bereft with surprise
that this gift came from you.
Dear, dear representative,
I know you can’t eat praise,
but let me say the sweetest thing
was the sweetness you allowed
yourself to give away, for free,
granted we stay orderly in our line.
When it was finally my turn, I approached you
with my mouth gaping like a cow’s
and walked my face into your bite.
There there, you said.
You said, That’s good isn’t it.
That’s just right.
In that moment, with frosting
on my tongue and lips and nose and neck,
with your hand on my head,
your soft palm,
I swear we understood each other.