Christine Gosnay


I have always known about men because I was delivered by a male doctor.
There was a moment when I could say truly I had not touched water.
But there was never a moment when I could say I did not know about men.
At one time I had never seen a cat or an ironing board or a deck of cards,
but by that time I had already been handled by man after man after man.

Only once I slept on a water bed. It was very uncomfortable.
I slept as if I had been shot out of a huge gun, made to be in pieces everywhere,
pieces that from a distance looked like me.
Up close the pieces looked and felt like aquarium gravel.
Another time I slept on the floor under a desk.
I felt like a tinplate can of peaches that has not had its easy open tab pulled back,
and had no mind for art for days.

What I know has always depended on some contraption that is easy to use
and impossible to describe, or on the seductive shape of an ugly trumpet flower
in a tropical wind where the sky is seven shades of the same blue.
My daughter says her stuffed animal has never felt water. Yes, I want to scream
into the afternoon. I am terrified she will find out about the death of Seurat,
how he climbed in and out of his mistress's window with a sore throat and died.