Two poems by Cynthia Good & Art by Virginia Vasquez

Off Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés

He called me a sweet piece of ass
On the elevator. I am allergic

To his dog. We exchanged nude
Selfies and saliva. He says, I love

To wrap my arms around you twice.
Though I’m not sure he’ll want me

If he knows lust disguises my weak
Sense of self. Fruit gleams under

The lit green awning. Pigeons flutter
Too low between buildings

As the waiter clears bistro tables
Of fig jam and half-eaten croissants.

Voices at the Café circle like cigarette
Smoke. Don’t objectify me. Please

Objectify me, here in the bone
Cold scent of piss on Rue Jacob.

Somebody’s Queen

Punish her for dancing in the den,
naked except for socks, slipping,
twirling on the wood to Dido
and Vivaldi, reading glasses

flying off her face as she spins.
Punish her because the music rattles
the windows, for gaining weight,
punish her because she’s drinking

from Nick and Nora while others
work three jobs and raise children
in one room motels on Buford Hwy.
What gives her the right to wash

her own sheets, touch her own skin
like it’s chenille, to climb into bed
alone, her vagina like a strawberry
sliced in half after days in the fridge.

What right to think such thoughts.
Because she doesn’t need anyone
to change the burned-out bulbs.
Punish her arrogance, tone deaf

freckles and mucus in the morning.
She can’t clean up her own mess,
the hair on the white tile. She read
a body loses up to 100 strands

a day. Punish her because her religion
is the rain and she prays to the ocean,
leans on posters of women wearing
roses, smoking cigarettes and not

giving a shit. She worships paintings
of nudes, and clay statues made
by her grandmother before she was
born, and Basquiat’s billboards

of green teeth searing into yellow
eyes atop a red skull. Punish her for
charging for work she never knows
whether anyone will buy. Punish her

at 50, for falling in love with her own
aging, the small breasts she used to hate,
her widening, cashmere thighs, because
when she’s had enough rest or coffee –

she is beautiful. Try taking her down,
off her gleaming parquet platform
in her room with a view, where
she acts like she’s nobody’s queen.

Cynthia Good is an award-winning author, journalist, and TV news anchor. She has written six books, one of which won the Georgia Author of the Year award. Cynthia’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals including Brickplight, Main Street Rag, The RavensPerch, Maudlin House, Poydras Review, among others.

Virginia Vasquez is a writer, multidisciplinary artist, educator, and collaborator. Her piece “Divine Alignment” was inspired by the spiritual significance of the connection and duality of the divine and masculine union.