For Louise Bourgeois, 1911-2010

Bourgeois / foreskin


The penis is capacious: it’s a handbag, an armpit,

the space between two objects. Two lips.


It has space inside for a lipstick, wallet, tampons,

a gun. Cocked. Dirty tissues, a dried-up pen, condoms


used and caught in a wrinkle of leather and silk.

It snaps shut on a mirror, opens at the twist


of her fingers. Above all, it contains – archives,

embraces, protects. Envelops. There is no outside


to its outside, its round balls hold all the world,

and in its ducts the Milky Way. Finger each swirl


from the lidded eye: the o of how (as in power),

the o of come (as in money). No way out


beneath this burial dress, this baggage

mummifying daddy’s little girl.

From Her Various Scalpels, 2009