Two Poems: She Said; He Said

Two Poems: She Said; He Said

By Elizabeth Harper

She  Said

She said, “Why are you wasting your time?”

As if all there was to it
was making a good deal.
Closing the deal.
Completing the con.

As if all there was
to get from men
was a free ride:
the ride that wasn’t free,
that you paid for on your back
if you were lucky,
or working your fingers
to the bone—
sweat equity.

Otherwise,
it was the street,
free-for-all,
not so lucky,
but maybe
a little lucky:
diamonds,
and days
at Elizabeth Arden,

instead of
putting up with
little brats,
endless daily indignities,
token gifts,
patronizing affections,
sexist adulations,
lawyers,
upon lawyers,
instead of love,
when love was all
you really wanted.

He Said

He said, “You look like you’re hiding.”

I’m just looking
for someone to belong to.
Someone to long to be with.
Someone to long too
to be with me—
all of me:
the anger,
the contradictions,
the backtracking,
the efforts that fail,
or do they?

In my fantasies,
he knows me,
understands me,
loves me
and my old
Simon and Garfunkel and
Joni Mitchell and
Elton John records.

The stories of
my high school rebellions,
childhood ambitions,
good intentions.

The love I would give.
The love misunderstood.
The hatred that was good
in a way no one wanted
to be understood.

The way I wanted
to change the world,
and ended up
trying to change me
and failed.

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