I’m feeling a bit adrift these days, unmoored; with the new book out, & with final doctor’s appointments & gatherings with friends, & just waiting & waiting to board my plane to the U.S., my hands don’t always know what to do with themselves. I think part of it is a depressive episode purling everything into grey but an equally large part is the liminality of my life right now—so many beginnings & endings, the humming of an air conditioner merging into the crooning of cicadas, dreams that flicker to life like liquid moonlight, pale & unimaginable.
When I find myself lost in the fog of sadness I let myself write sharp & aching poems like this one, but I also try to remind myself that sharp & aching is not the only way with which to move through summer, through transitions, through this large wild beautiful world. I try not to say things I don’t mean when I’m angry. I try to breathe, & to read, & to listen to soft songs. I try to look up.
& so, here is a poem for you about hurt & fury & faceless want, but also a poem about passion, & about belonging, & about belief, & about tenderness. Originally it was published in my dear friend Elizabeth Ruth Deyro’s gorgeous anthology of women’s poetry, Reclaim, alongside so many other female writers I’m ceaselessly grateful to call my friends, colleagues, & heroes. What a joy to belong somewhere as necessary & revolutionary as this.
A gentle reminder that you deserve a story that ends in light, & that so do I. We’ll find our way there. I believe it, & I hope you do too.
Teeth / Trespass
She, meaning fool’s gold. Meaning bedside.
Meaning sock drawer with socks & knives.
She says what do you want. I want a tempest.
Want the aftertaste of rainwater. I want a life
where I can kiss her & never be afraid again.
She, meaning last ladder. Sinner with tongue.
Outside, unwound arteries, ink shedding red
-black & known. She, meaning birth as Turing
test. Meaning three ways from safekeeping.
I visit the dentist. Three more cavities since
the last time. I have to kiss less or brush more.
She, meaning loveless & straining. Meaning
political correctness. Some deaths are entirely
accidental. Hair & stolen alcohol clogging the
sink. Meaning chaos theory. Utilitarianism.
She says what do you want. I want my life’s
Scratch that. I want the little store on the corner
with candles & bruises. I want the pencils & lines
to stop their breakage. The lightbulbs to stop
flickering out. I want the right words in the
wrong order. To know my lover’s last name.
She, meaning dry eyes & dental dams. Meaning
acrid in my throat. I want new teeth. I’m talking
about her because when am I not. Outside, the
ravens, the unbitten apples, the leaving songs.
They know we are innocent. They are so afraid.