Women of Troy

By Somers-Willett, Susan B. A. | The Virginia Quarterly Review, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Women of Troy


Somers-Willett, Susan B. A., The Virginia Quarterly Review


Ilium fuit, Troja est.

-Troy, NY city motto

You are the country at war and the city ablaze.

You are the flags lining Fourth Street and the singer

crooning Proud to be an American in his perfect

toupée. You are concrete and brownstone and groaning

row houses. You are burning in the sun

with your children to watch the Army parade.

You are the dime of piff rolled and lit to glow

its purple haze. You are cigarettes burning into

red ends on the stoop. You are the blunt

and the thong, the stem and the seed.

You are the rum mother's liquor

and the rum mother's need.

You are the Green Island Bridge and its glittering curves.

You are the Hess gas station fluorescing all through the night.

You are the Burden and its turning wheel.

You are the white dog cocking his ear over the city

and hearing no call. You are the mean-eyed

bitch staring into the street resting her shitty white

chin on the sill. You are the pit bull dreaming

at the end of her chain. You are the flex of her

brindle at the sound of her name.

You are the neon of the Nite Owl News.

You are the shop and its gold bamboo earrings,

the polished hoops and their weight in each lobe.

You are the rhinestone barrettes displayed in a case,

the homegirl wigs bobbing on their mannequin heads.

You are the homegirl's nails tipped in China Glaze red.

You are Sixth Avenue, its drivers cursing at the drivers ahead.

You are Sixth Avenue, its drivers passing: Fuck you bitch!

You are Sixth Avenue: white petals dizzying in the wind of cop cars.

You are the white minivan which starts or doesn't

with a screwdriver's turn. You are the empty box of

Newports crushed on the dash. …

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