By | 1 February 2021


We begin with a desire to devour.
I am a citizen of want, my body
a country of bruises from your teeth.

I am happy to pay in sweetness
as long as it is you who takes
my lips. Once, upon coming

to a clearing, we hurriedly shed
our clothes, feral things whose
vocabulary knows no waiting.

I am happy to be here before you,
palms up, wanting and being wanted.
Once more, and once again.


Someone once took me to bed
and wanted to fuck in the dark.
I was a body and yet not a body.

Someone mistook me for not being
me when they read my words but forget
my name. Where do I hide my shame?

I was a body and almost somebody.
We damn well know: to be brown is
to always be guilty of being brown.


Who wouldn’t want this,
hands around my throat,
hands that cup my breasts,
hands that grip my hips.

Let me whisper confessions
to the shadows on your skin:
When I see your open mouth

I hear the selfsame howl from
deep in my womb: I am your
leviathan among the woods.


This is what it means to shiver
beneath someone’s gaze,
your possession teaching me
the length of my spine.

Who wouldn’t want you,
telling me you’re home
and safe from standing
before an invisible firing line.

In the subway, at the pharmacy,
at the grocery, in the park:
when have we ever known
what it means to be apart.

No one can stop me
from holding your hand,
not even the demons that
corrupt their heart.


Would that there be a menagerie
inside your warm body for every
living thing that you might have been:

the tenderness of a butterfly, perhaps,
or the startling softness of a bird.
A sweet longan.


How do you conjure
an ever after. I wish
nothing more than
to follow where this leads.

Our bodies uncurl from the core
and everything hurts

while we stand in line at the bank,
or when we walk across the street
to get to our door.

When they call you names
or when they call mine,
I will always want you
whispering in my ear:
Why not right here.


Oh, husk that houses who I am!
Almond eyes, thick thighs,

and every ember that has
settled on my dark skin.

I want your wildness—
and damn the rest of them.

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