Heather Hartley

Advice for the Hirsute

I’ve decided it’s not a good excuse—
it could eat you for the rest of your days.

He never calls me bella. ‘La mia ragazza,’ etc.,
but it’s been about three weeks now, or over a month,
depending on how you count—

The lawyer has lost her mind but O can she dance.
For years, she didn’t like her hands
but you can only hide them so long, I said, a girl’s only got so many pockets.
(Now she’s in love with them like a teenage girl.)

If I gave you the same gift again, wrapped differently,
but the same exact thing,
would you be happy again, a second time?

As kitsch as it sounds and as bad as the coffee is, that’s how it goes.
You can only wax your crotch so long before finally, finally,
the hair creeps back like dark widow’s weeds.

Now put on your words and go out and play with the other kids.
But whatever you do, for god’s sake, don’t congregate around the toilets.

All year has been November—a little gray, worn out—Demeter in rags.

Yesterday, when she was driving, she said in the smallest voice,
What happened to my nice little life?
It was the most devastating thing.

It’s like a cat with a sixth claw—
some things you just have to accept.