369: In Which Our Wants Are Worlds

369: In Which Our Wants Are Worlds

369: In Which Our Wants Are Worlds

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In Which Our Wants Are Worlds
by Jasmine Reid

We have a house in the suburbs & it is quiet
enough here to hear when flowers
open their mouths to speak. It is spring.
We have two kids & I stopped painting my nails.
We have two prescription bottles of anti-depressants
& your loneliness swallows them all one night.
We have a roof that doesn’t leak & a Saturn Vue
of mercury with squeaky brake pads.
Every time we slow down it sounds
like the car is warning. What small nag.
Want. We speed up & our backs press flat
against the seats. We speed up & want is the hum
of the engine, the street lamps blurring
past. We can’t move.
We bought a vehicle of want.
Our hearts rot oppressively in the trunk.

                          You tattoo an arc of I am, I am, I am.
                          Want under your left breast. You dye your hair
                          pink. You have your mother’s smile
                          & your father’s sense of humor. When he yells,
                          your lips flare & sun-scorch the walls,
                          radiating an attractive array of want.

                          I am not a good Chinese boy.
                          Your grandmother cries over dinner
                          but you say you are very, very happy.

                                         I am eight & the boy I love lives in the attic.
                                         I am eight & covet my sister’s flower dress.

                                         No one tells me I can’t have the boy & the dress.
                                         My want lives in marigold fingertips.

                                         My want is the god of touch. My want petals
                                         in spring & blooms all summer.

"In Which Our Wants Are Worlds," by Jasmine Reid, from DEUS EX NIGRUM by Jasmine Reid, copyright © 2018 Honeysuckle Press. Used by permission of the poet.