Self Portrait in Places by Bonnilee Kaufman

I.    Bakery

We met.
In the late afternoon
On Rose Avenue, her
Intelligence bright,
Behind cataract eyes
Smiling as we bumped
Toward the last bag of
Cast-offs.  Day old muffins
Still promising.
If civility is love
We shared some, splitting
The contents, her seventyish
Years of core butch
Steady under loose soft
Skin, enticing my
Scent, in lieu of my name.

II.    Desert

I choose.
Save these hips for
My desert girl
Whose deep brown puddles
Seer through
Phone wire distance, doubting
My sincerity, then relaxes
Relates anecdotes, uses
Words like meshugenah in context,
Proper inflection, so endearing, then
Cries for want of us.
Emotions twirl words
Senseless as the eight hundred
Miles between.

III.    Ocean

Incongruously garbed.
In my boys’ size fourteen, too bright
Orange surfer shorts
Lying small and still on an
Heirloom blue blanket,
Lips counting waves of
Newly contented solitude
Mirrors would only distort.
Behind dark tinted sun
Shades, my femme
Is desire
In burnished brown.

IV.    Bakery

Haven’t bumped into anyone
Not counting the homeless.
The muffins, flavored now with
Frugal substitutions, no longer worthwhile.
Real creamed butter too expensive
But I still taste it,
Familiarity resides in
Pent up knots, my neck
Stiff from harboring memories.

It’s odd
How the ground keeps slipping
Despite the cleats
I’ve taken a turn
Left my desert girl
In the sand, yet feel
Defeat rise from the
Steam of my own decision
Emotions narrow to the
Of a droning metronome.
I’m losing weight
Without having a bit of
Drama to feast upon.

Bonnilee Kaufman is a Learning Disabilities Specialist for the California Community Colleges. She received a partial scholarship to the Lambda Literary Foundation's 2012 Writers Retreat for Emerging Voices.  Her poetry was included in two anthologies: Ghosts of the Holocaust, and Milk and Honey—A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry.

Bay Laurel  /  Volume 1, Issue 1  /  Autumn 2012