3 Poems by Billie R. Tadros
Twenty-six Words for “Vulva”: B is for “Bloodroot,” or,
We Loved Like Bloodroot, Like Stemless Bleeding Things
Exsanguinate, you cried as you climaxed.
I remember the rhizome, the reason.
Here’s the root of the problem: you seasoned
my love escharotic, erotic, axed
the sore point in this bloom. Savvy with salve,
I’ll save you, you said, fingering nature’s
scalpel and my patient lobed lips. I have
to believe this affection a cancer
to accept the scars. This is where she lopped
me, I’ll say, pointing to the palimpsest
where your sap-harvested tincture had dyed
my skin the color of Cabernet stopped,
the color of what we look like inside
our dendritic highways waiting to let.
Recently Out Queer Woman Does Flaming Dr. Pepper Shots
with Grade School Crush at Their High School Reunion
This is the right kind of place for ending,
and even in the mood lighting you’re not
my type, but late tonight you’ll send me hot
pictures of your cock. These are forgetting
gestures—your wanting to imagine how—
her hand on my thigh, its slow leaving wake.
I would take you if I wanted to take
you home. Buy us another pitcher now,
and we’ll talk. You’re far more charming tonight
than you were back in high school, hand on small
of my back. You’re all pretending-to-care
and I’m-so-good-at-this-game you just might
get to fuck me in the men’s bathroom stall,
leave thinking it was you I wanted there.
The Art of Flossing Isn’t Hard to Master
I finally threw out your toothbrush today
but first kissed the bristles against my own gum
line. Whatever it is you didn’t say
recedes now in my own mouth. Your taste will stay
in the half bath waste basket for some
days, but I finally threw out your toothbrush today.
(The city collects trash on Friday.)
It’s flavored like ash, sour, spearmint, and rum
and whatever it is you didn’t say.
While you’re starving, I’m craving something to allay
the phantom ache of how you would come.
Before I threw out your toothbrush today
I hungered in the depression where you lay
on the left side of the bed, which sums
up what you wouldn’t say:
You thinned like enamel. I wore you away
like the overwashed, worried-loose skin of a plum—
or the head of your toothbrush I threw out today.
I threw out whatever it is you didn’t say.
Billie R. Tadros is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English & Theatre at The University of Scranton. She is the author of three books of poems, Graft Fixation (Gold Wake Press, 2020), Was Body (Indolent Books, 2020), and The Tree We Planted and Buried You In (Otis Books, 2018).