“The Dangerous Hermit for the Motorcycle Betrayer” by Diane Wakoski

Diane Wakoski


She’s not crazy, she just doesn’t like
to explain herself. She eats pecans
fresh little ears in their paper boat shells
and thinks of how
those shells are as smooth as
a certain hand.
A flash of her Wanda Landowska arms
poised over
the harpsichord, the green silk
of the moon, the terror
of virtue-these things make her into
a hermit. She doesn’t want
to have anything to do
with people.

Or animals. She doesn’t
like them any better.
What happened?
What lover refused to touch her
and spread green silk
one last time,
or disappointed her
when she offered him pralines out of her smooth
hands? She
wasn’t a Southerner, so no
excuses. She’s just a woman
who doesn’t accept lies.

She’s really not crazy, though she
probably is dangerous.
After all, she believes the zebra is always there,
waiting for her, at least if she’s naked.
And even though she doesn’t like animals.

She rides away from everyone,
naked, and obviously wearing diamonds.
But if that’s her disguise, why couldn’t he see
the Wanda Landowska arms,
the crescent of moon under her foot?
Perhaps he’d notice the pecan tight nut of her
hidden sex, but the smooth pecan skin
of her bridling hands? Surely he would see that?

When the moon unrolled, under
zebra-light hooves, its immense bolt of
green silk, and she rode past him, he should have

oh, he should have-so many things he should have.

We think we see everything,
but of course
we don’t. It’s the moon. Always
the moon. Spilling its
splashy silk, its nightly ocean.
Who is listening?

Finally we find out:
that’s why she’s

from Rattle #13, Summer 2000

Rattle Logo