The Girl Who Was Thursday Night

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The Girl Who Was Thursday Night
Nokyoung Xayasane

There was a girl
who was Thursday night.
She would walk down the street,
and men would call out to her.
They would look at her
with an unquenchable need,
a thirst, and a hunger.
She would smile and their
world would expand.
She would turn away
and their bodies
crumpled to the floor.
She would speak
and they would hang
on her every word,
her every syllable.
She would pause,
and their mouths
would gape open.
She would wait a
second longer
and then continue.
They would
inhale sharply.
They would
stumble and bumble,
they would trip and fall,
and swallow hard.

She could stand at the corner
of a crosswalk and feel
a pressure against her sleeve,
a hand on her arm,
and she would know
before turning,
that she would be
looking into
the face of yearning,
she would be staring into
human weakness.

When this girl is sick
with a little cold,
men will offer to bring her
chicken noodle soup
straight to her door.
She will get three such offers
and ignore them all,
not out of cruelty
but out of pity,
but still there will be
someone at the door
holding cups and cups
of chicken noodle soup.
She has learned
that the soup is for them,
and not for her.

The girl who was Thursday night
has a lot to choose from
and yet
there is no one to choose from.
When they touch her
she is already disappearing,
she is already gone.
When they want to hold her,
she will allow it.
She will breathe easily,
she will breathe them in,
calm and languid,
trying to remember
the feel of their skin,
their need to connect,
to belong, to feel valued,
coddled and praised,
reprimanded and shunned,
and she will give it to them,
she will give them these things,
she will give them
these things,
at least and easily.

She will hold
the memory of them
as an explorer who has
already said her farewells.
She will lie with them
in the night,
in the morning,
in the late afternoon.
It takes nothing
away from her.
She feels no shame,
she feels no lasting sorrow.

The girl who was Thursday night
will live on
in the imagination
of the painter,
a sketch against a screen, a caricature,
the actor,
a dark monologue on an empty stage,
hollow and bleak,
the writer,
a paragraph of prose, prophetic and wise,
the musician,
a lyric that hangs in the air,
eternal and bright.
They see her
as they want to see her.
She gives them something,
she fills a need
for a brief and beautiful time.
And her own need is filled,
a need to slake her new appetite.
She is ravenous now
for that first

And every day
is different for her.
Her mind opens up
fresh and alive.
The sparrows outside
call to her with their song,
the May sunshine
the afternoon winds
surround her.
She is free
and the things and the people
of the past,
they are that,
the past,
they are already vanishing,
they will soon be gone.
She longs for them
like her childhood playground
like when she paddled along
in a canoe on a lake
and felt the open air
and the call of the wild geese
sheer and bright and alive,
like the soft comfort
of an old blanket
that cradled her to sleep,
but those things,
those people,
they don’t belong to today.
They only belong
to those nights from long ago,
they belong
to Thursday night.

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