Stripping
Strip off the shoes and pantyhose,
the grown-up drag. Undo

those soft white arms and their blond down,
moss made of light.

Wash away the sour working sweat,
fatigue of heels and fluorescent lights.

Unhook that tired bra, unclench the feet
with their worn-out travelogues,

knees, complaining in their bone cradles,
the drooling sex, and the shamed

belly, pouched like a stubborn mountain.
Release the years in a shower of moths shaken free

from an old sweater so full of holes
you can see through to the skin.

Strip off the skin. Let it hang
over a chair the way it has hung

from your body lately, exhausted,
confessing to years of experience.

Strip away experience, that false umbrella
blocking the only sun.

Strip your mind of these words, clods
of dirt kicked up by donkey mind, clouds

that will soon pass. Let the clang of language die
in your mouth. Let your overworked tongue

hang, innocent and dumb
as tomorrow morning. No one owns it yet,

that paper minidress of time, meant
to be cast off after one wearing.

I want to strip. It’s the jewel
at the center I seek; let me be oyster, hoarding pearl.

Let me be coal, sheltering diamond.
Though in my heart of hearts I am afraid

I may be onion, each white circle
of stinky tears hiding another

exactly like it. Or rose:
whose petals are her everything.