Poems from “I Look at My Body and See the Source of My Shame: Ecstasy Facsimile”

By | 16 August 2019

My favorite saint tells me I complain too often about my soul’s shortcomings, I’m

for the dreams I remember, W— pushes apart my thighs and asks in Punjabi
when I’ll finish, nothing in this world more beautiful than its share of tenderness

your body is denied, O soul, you’re the sum of tragedies I’ve had to invent

to circumvent the ones we inhabit, I need you because I’m the only loss

I’m comfortable with, you’re either something I must overcome or something I’ve
already failed to, I can’t

so I don’t think of you in the present, I lack the imagination

to change, what my favorite saint says I believe, although the soul knows its
wretchedness and knows what we are is

wickedness, what a great favor the Lord does us by sending us this distress the soul
must be occupied with

when I say I’m too simple-minded to understand your mysteries, I want you to tell me

I’m being disingenuous, you manifest most frequently when I awake with a puffy face
and a hangover

in the morning every regret is that one opening through which

the heavens belch a riot of blond cherubs, I can only think of my life as a sequence of
crucial refusals, cracks

down a wine glass, a line of riot shields too ready for me to overlook, tomorrow a
rainbow so faint it won’t register in pictures, I browse through a list of victims to
practice my outrage, without feeling, the world you’ve made

shall give me the next simile that conveys with poetic precision how little I think of
myself: I look around to make sure someone’s overheard me.

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