Natalie Giarratano

Second-Hand Blues
After Nick Cave’s Soundsuits Exhibit: “Sojourns” (Denver Art Museum)

And when is it? When do we need
these words the most? When bodies loom
so large that we must squint
at their buttoning up. Holy Mother of God.
When we don’t hear one another
because we’re too busy shaking
our abacus faces like maracas: chicka chicka.
When the boom of what a woman feels
is an orbit of metal toy tops and globes;
when a little girl laughs and points
at this suit of sock monkeys—tails pointing
and curling in ways she recognizes. When we flat out
ignore the rainbowed shag that shimmies
long like prairie grass: a storm’s a comin’.
When we’re all just second-hand costumes, heavy
with skin oils and finger smudges. We coul