Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 10
Fall 2014

[Three Poems]

by Nin Andrews


for my daughter, Suzanne
So tell me this. Why did that prince want to marry
some girl, so slim she could dance in glass slippers?
And I mean, dance, not pussyfoot around.
And why is it that no maiden in the entire kingdom
ever shattered that glass shoe? One step in
and smasho. Now doesn’t that tell you something
about women back then? Even those mean, ugly
stepsisters.... They didn’t carry any weight at all.
The best were as light as milkweed with nothing
but dreams to keep them happy. And the beautiful
were always in danger of being blown away
like kites or party balloons. But there was one,
once upon a time and long ago...
There had to have been at least one
who never gazed upon her prince with silken eyes...
Maybe it was her scent of cinders, sweat and silt
that really turned men on and drove them wild.
So they galloped away on silver steeds, waving their lances
in the air, chanting: “Mine’s bigger than yours!”
Because that, my love, is what men do best
and have done and will do happily ever after
until the end of time.
—Previously published in Delaware Poetry Review (2007: Vol. 1, No. 1); reprinted here with author’s permission

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—Previously published in Delaware Poetry Review (2007: Vol. 1, No. 1); reprinted here with author’s permission

My Invisible Valentine

Facts off CNN, February 14
84% of Americans say they’re in love this morning. 16% say they’re not. No 
undecideds, unlike every other poll. People are evenly divided over whether 
Valentine’s Day matters, though one reporter said she felt sorry for all those who 
have nobody to be their valentine. Even if it’s true that only 4% say the day is 
bad, and only 1% actually dread the date, making it more popular than 
Thanksgiving or Christmas. The reporter added that over 60% of women say they 
would give up sex for a year for a date with Brad Pitt. But men will never give up 
sex, period. No one dares ask them to. 

But there was one man who said it’s possible to make love even when you never 
make love. He said it’s possible to carry someone in your mind, your heart, to feel 
her skin across miles and years, to hear her voice when the birds stir in the trees 
or the dishes clatter in the sink. To taste her mouth every time you talk, closing 
your own mouth into a soft kiss when you say your m’s and b’s, or harder kiss of 
your p’s, every time you lick an l or nibble on an f, or a v, every time you are lost 
and open in a w or an o...

Okay, I admit it. No one said this. No one ever does. But I am thinking of him. 
The man who was not on CNN. The man who is not here but is somewhere far 
away thinking of me thinking of him thinking of me. The man who makes me one 
of the 84% to be envied instead of the 16% to be pitied, or instead of the woman 
I really am. A man can do that to a woman. He can change her into other 
things. Even now he is tracing my skin with his lips. He is writing my name with 
his tongue. When I wrap my legs around his hips, he lifts me up and up until we 
drift across the sky, leaving a trail of sparks in our wake. Sometimes we spin on 
the currents and eddies of airs like Frisbees. And he tells me the secret of 
secrets. His secrets are for me. Only me, or the woman who would never give up 
sex for a single date with Brad Pitt. Who will never betray her invisible man.
—Previously published in Delaware Poetry Review (2007: Vol. 1, No. 1); reprinted here with author’s permission
SHJ Issue 10
Fall 2014

Nin Andrews

is the editor of a book of translations of the French poet Henri Michaux entitled Someone Wants to Steal My Name from Cleveland State University Press. She is also the author of several books including Southern Comfort, Sleeping with Houdini, and The Book of Orgasms. Her book, Why God Is a Woman, is forthcoming from BOA Editions (May 2015).

[The three poems reprinted here were enthusiastically called to the attention of SHJ’s poetry editor Steve Kowit by SHJ’s webmaster Clare MacQueen.]

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury