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Two Poems by Valerie Wetlaufer | Word Riot

April 15, 2010      

Two Poems by Valerie Wetlaufer

I Never Wear Dresses, But I’ll Do It For You

J. said he’d pay us a quarter each if we’d kiss and let him watch.
He wanted us on his lap together.

We wore red dresses.
It’s important in dreams for the women to match.

We took the money and blindfolded him,
and he chased us on his knees.

We licked gin off his ice cubes,
straws sticking the backs of our throats.

Now our nails have grown too long to love each other,
the parties too tired to be interested in our show.

You fed me potpourri like your mother kept in bowls
around the house, hosed me down in the backyard
and rubbed sugar into my hair.

You strapped me to the rock we pretended was a casket
when we were children. The boys tied us down,
made us close our eyes and pay the toll to the underworld.

We untied the knots more easily without an audience.

Grammar for Everyone

Canadians love European architecture and literature.

Even the dogs seem happy here.

I told Jacques no, but I said yes to Pierre.

You can’t even imagine the things I say to myself.

I am aware of the error I have committed.

It is only polite to extinguish your cell phone in the theater.

Wise children will be rewarded.

The same three boys. Every five days.

I want one bottle. I want several bottles. I don’t want a single bottle.

Paper is expensive. The sun shines all year over there.

Don’t take that route, take the other, you will arrive much faster.

Jacques and Alice met some very ugly men and women.

A fat chicken will hardly suffice for his dinner.

Because of her, the big mahogany table is broken.

The table is broken.

Pierre is gone.

She always picks the least beautiful flowers.

Pierre thinks of his parents.

Jacques saw Pierre, but he did not greet him.

No matter what decision you make, I will leave.

My neighbor, a well-known journalist, explained the whole affair to me.

The wine is better in Europe than in the United States.

About the author:

Valerie Wetlaufer was born and raised in Iowa. Since then she has lived in Vermont, Paris, Florida and Utah. She is a PhD student at the University of Utah and blogs occasionally at

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