by Daisy Bassen
I was another man’s wife for an hour last night
In the hotel lobby. You think I was a whore,
Wrong; in flats and a cardigan, pearls close to white,
Double strand, like jawless teeth at my throat. A bore
Perhaps, the roleplay of the long-married, pretense
Limited by our matching rings, his heavy gold,
Soft, scratched dull, warm from his warm hand. In your defense,
We were happy. The city full of blossoms, cold
Enough to keep them fresh, a liar’s paradise
Didn’t require the truth—sooner would a rich man
Etc, than he’d take me home, a poor device
To disguise who he loves, could love, will. Ortolan
Is no longer served. You cannot bite off its head
And swallow, open your mouth and sing its song, dead.
Daisy Bassen is a poet and practicing physician, who graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program, and completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. Bassen’s work has been published in Oberon, McSweeney’s, The Sow’s Ear, and [PANK] as well as multiple other journals. Bassen was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry and the winner of the So to Speak 2019 Poetry Contest, the 2019 ILDS White Mice Contest, and the 2020 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize. She was doubly nominated for the 2019 Best of the Net Anthology and for a 2019 and 2020 Pushcart Prize. Born and raised in New York, Bassen lives in Rhode Island with her family.