SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

It Happened One Night by Kate Bernadette Benedict

And so the freshman in the flouncy blouse

enticed me to Princeton

where she studied something obnubilating,

microgenetics or deep math

or the Eleusinian Emulation.

 

At the Nassau Inn:

Yardley in the air, oregano, vegan curry.

 

I walked barefoot on the greensward,

channeling a new attitude: blasé.

 

Just how I woke up on a farmhouse floor

among cloven nudes

is not a thing I clearly recollect.

Gin gimlets, perhaps, a string of them,

followed by a jaunt with others

in the bed of a pick-up,

yes, a weaving among solid and broken lines,

in fog, between trees and trees.

 

At some point, there was a trivia game.

Everyone knew everything.

The names of fault lines,

the genera of whales and of worms,

even what the sheet was called

in It Happened One Night:

Colbert and Gable, remember?—

nothing between them but a contrivance.

 

Ashtrays spilled and reeked

and hardened egg yolk pocked the countertops.

They were slovens, those rich kids.

I wasn’t rich but I was dainty, or had been,

till I woke up bedraggled, among foreign bodies,

with a choke in my throat and a clammy film on me.


Kate Bernadette Benedict, of Riverdale, New York, is the author of Earthly Use: New and Selected Poems, published in 2015. Her previous collections were Here From Away and In Company. Kate edited the erstwhile poetry journals Umbrella and Tilt-a-Whirl; the archives remain online and are linked from her home page at www.katebenedict.com.

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