PROVISIONAL

When he procured her, she purveyed
him. When he rationed her out,
she made him provisional. On being

provisional, he made her his trough.
On being a trough, she made him her silo.
At once a silo, he made her his cut. On being a cut,

she made him her utensil. On being
a utensil, he turned her downhill. So being
downhill, she made him her skis.

When she was his stethoscope,
he was her steady beat. From beat
she was dog, from dog he was fetch,

from fetch she was jab, from jab
he was fake. When he was her complex
equation, she was his simple math.

So she turned him into strong evidence,
accessory after the fact. So he turned
her eyes private, made her his man

on the lam. So he became her psalm,
so she became his scrubby tract. When he
became an aesthete, she became his

claw-foot bath. So she made him a rudimentary
fault line; so he made her a volcanic rim.
So she made him her unruly quorum;

so he made her his party whip.
That’s when they both became
mirror, and then both became lips.

From lips she was trumpet, from trumpet
he was mute. Then he made her his margin
of error. Then she made him stet.

  — Catherine Bowman