The word came after me, then hid each time
I turned to look at it.
It breathed in the hedge. I could hear it bite
and snap the air.
I feared the woman with slicked-back hair
sitting on a bar stool,
her back to the dance floor, a beer in her hands.
Disco drove the word away
but it came back: Bulldyke, Bulldagger.
What did the word want
with me, and why this dread, this desire, this
striding through Kenmore Square
Dyke had a spike in it, a cleated surge.
In leathers, the word leapt
18th century grillwork
on the Boston Common and led the parade
around the city,
the slow, snaking, joyful, motorcade
of a new millennium. First
I had to hate her;
then I had to hurt her; the rest of my life,
I ate from her hand.
American Poetry Review