I'm Human, Too by Len Lawson

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


He said this on our business trip the same night
he told me he made money pimping on the side

Something about the glasses at the end of his nose
the gray, wiry strands of hair struggling to escape his rambling

the limping leg like Atlas anchoring the world of his pot belly and
the gapped teeth occasionally releasing the crotchety tongue

framed my disbelief. I thought, Why didn’t he just burst in and
stop us dead in our tracks on the motel bathroom floor

where my knees were giving out dug into the diseased
linoleum until I stood to seed her enduring mouth

rewarding the patient tongue, a legacy
for daughters she may never have

I lost focus before the great eruption
stowing away in the memory of scars

on her ripe bottom from an apparent
bout with chicken pox as a child

before the wig, the makeup, and
the pimp, my roommate, groomed her

Who is more human: the man who
spews out a lamb to the slaughter

or the man who weeps while
he devours its bleating on his plate

Yeah, I guess the old man had the right to say it
with us negotiating the finish a wall away

but so did she. I may have erupted in tears if that
became the fruit of her lips instead of her asking

Are you a cop?


Photo of Len Lawson

Photo of Len Lawson

Len Lawson is the author of the upcoming chapbook Before the Night Wakes You (Finishing Line Press) and co-editor of the upcoming Poets Respond to Race anthology (Muddy Ford Press). He has been accepted to the Ph.D. in English Literature and Criticism program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Len is a 2015 Pushcart Prize & Best of the Net nominee and a 2016 Callaloo Fellow.  His poetry appears or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Public Pool, The James Franco Review, [PANK], Mississippi Review, Winter Tangerine Reviewand elsewhere.
He is a poetry reader & book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly.