Poetry from NER 42.4 (2021)
Forgive myself for breath and I should die.
Self-love an excuse but for that exit: this daydream
of me ended. Of feet parched with weight beyond
the hurt of pale bathroom scale. Or love this
itch between thighs as slower metabolism gifts
slower moods, these dull penetrations of face
into pillowcase. So die then, says another country
or lover; splits me long through thoughts of this spine.
And a dream of nerve cells copying beneath this glass.
How inexact to possess skin. Like a flailing sack
too stuffed with consciousness. I feel as a piñata
and you are peckish. Not just the promise of guns shot
but allergic itch draws blood in late summer. I’m sorry
other Black men died. I’m sorry I keep thinking,
I look like him. I’m sorry my life feels as easy
as these leaves failing to defend themselves against
their too-soon shifting colors. But I want myself.
I want to want myself as much as I want your shadows
flickering against the walls of this cave, fooling me
of presences beyond myself. And this music: I want this
foolishness of my mouth transmuted into woodwind
and brass. As if this could salve. As if this grass between
my lips epistles this gray sky as any virtue but failed rain.
As if peaches. Forgive myself for breath and this song
should die. I am as new as the paintings in this cave.
Am the same burrowing of grain into body and loss.
Am the same ochre and hematite, inevitable and sorry.