Body Timeline

By Katie Rank
Volume 3//Poem



He comes up to her at the bar It’s you I’ve been waiting for your pearls

and tight curls and muted beiges my mother barely speaks. English, she

puts a raisin in the loaf just to trick me I order a tonic with gin we laugh

so the story goes I put you in your car I’m going to marry you I say you

laugh we laugh. When. Then, you leave college and have a child at 20 and

beiges turn to embarrassed reds my mother only speaks to you. Polish, you

smile and nod because this is what you do oh you sweet woman you come

with me to the shoe store downtown and we buy the hideous clogs that

you will keep in the closet untouched. Cream tonic beige white cream tonic.

At the boat dock the time runs out the table is ready you cover yourself with

red wine your cream trousers blood dipped. It’s you I’ve been waiting for.


You’ll need more rice than that, the old woman scoffed.

—Anita Johnston

I track my gas at 25 dollars a visit, playing

stop the pump at a perfect 5x5, something I can

measure, petrol in clumps of fours, twos, months


since I’ve felt your expansion, licking sticky rice

from the pots in the kitchen till we swear off sushi

only to go back to it on our next night off. Tough


kisses under Maine moon, I forget what this kind

of love feels like, licking each other’s fingers of

our own permanence, each month a countdown


to this summer. This sweaty July. Running from

the barn, forgetting that you are allergic to horses

that tomorrow we begin the months again, passing


time with sandwich bread and baking over cups of

lukewarm water. On the carpet, giant fan hums until

evening falls and we drive off, our secret of fullness


I wanted to kiss you so I got in the car and kissed you.

For cold intemperament make a salve of pounded

celery and apply to breasts. Your narrow jaw bone.

Skeleton arms. Still toned, even after halftime

death. I have a boyfriend now, you say. You say my

name too—Cancer may appear after a warm natured

swelling. I want you because you’re 40 but could easily

pass for 20. That look you get when you walk across

the room and your little body moves fast and your feet

pound into the floor. I wake up to realize our love?

Sleep, bodies, car. I smell your perfume. Three years

ago you lost your hair and now it’s beautiful brown

tumbleweed. You are preventable, but seldom curable.