My skin fluoresced. I hypnotized trees.
The orphans followed me around town,
drunk on my pain. I ate only my own
hunger, gave off a scent like bitter oranges
or chlorine. Loss left me strangely whole,
as if my sadness, were it strong enough,
could turn your ship around. That was back
when I aged. Now, like an astronomer
who seeks no first causes, but only to map
the connections pinned out over the sea,
I want to diagram the light that shines out
through the holes you pricked into me."
— Maureen Thorson, in “Apples to Oranges”
— Robert Hass in an excerpt from “Meditation at Lagunitas”
if you don’t
lookin at you sometime
like she wanna
just grab you
& eat you up
if you do
I almost brought him soup. So strong
was my habit of caring for him,
I was willing to make it
from scratch, the flesh falling
from hen bones, the rings
of celery and translucent onions,
the round carrots floating,
the slim bay leaf slip
so potent I only need one.
we pray our lovers won’t flinch at when they find."
— Andrea Gibson
A truth should exist,
it should not be used
like this. If I love you
is that a fact or a weapon?"
— Margaret Atwood
You don’t know what love is
but you know how to raise it in me
like a dead girl winched up from a river. How to
wash off the sludge, the stench of our past.
How to start clean. This love even sits up
and blinks; amazed, she takes a few shaky steps.
Any day now she’ll try to eat solid food. She’ll want
to get into a fast car, one low to the ground, and drive
to some cinderblock shithole in the desert
where she can drink and get sick and then
dance in nothing but her underwear. You know
where she’s headed, you know she’ll wake up
with an ache she can’t locate and no money
and a terrible thirst. So to hell
with your warm hands sliding inside my shirt
and your tongue down my throat
like an oxygen tube. Cover me
in black plastic. Let the mourners through.
— John Green in The Fault in Our Stars