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Sun claw, coffee. Outside, a light sugary rain. Inside, a wet hem, smudged eyes. Roil of hips and then you taste it: memory shimmer, tin. Huge paws breaking the sky open, there once was so much sweetness, raw as wish, conditionless. No rush to it. A radiance hit your skin, but you mistook it. Now, as sheer as your secrets, you float in a low-flame rage. A technical rose.
Covers and uncovers you. Recollect, succulent, a generous cut. Slept with Robbie right away, so did Rosemary. Maybe too much night reading. Rose was ideal pornography, tumbling through supermarkets at night, sandwiches and cigarettes in her pockets. Stitches coming open, a fresh necklace. Muscle, tweed, silk. The season drew in its breath. And there was the ruthless cool of fluorescent lights, hoarfrost coating our blurred loveliness. I stayed. I was bitten. I could not make it down the block. He's thrown himself off the roof by now.
Riches in a different weather. We are trading notes through the grillwork. Or I alone am leaving these bright animal clamberings lying around. Each stare, a socket. I remember. Longing in the hot dark, a low crouching disturbing my green Aprils. Rebecca bent in half by love and wandering. Born in the desert, altogether water current. Lapping. She lived in the building with perpetually dark windows, a seam of unlit roses. Outside, a heat haze. Jumped with no wings.
Uncomely juvenilia. A procession of cold data fed like a wick through sleep. Skeletal and smuggled. The birds are stuttering. I cannot describe the joy of knowing that Ethan continues, more or less. He wants to delight. Sometimes the terror just breaks off: storms pass over the houses while inside, long warm winds roll over a quieted body. Remember the concert went on and on. That music was phantom pain compared to the red dog snapping at Leslie's great store. I am astonished by her. This is the movement that confused me then and now: disgust taking bites out of blitheness. Heavy as cowbells.
Staying on in a low land. Here I sit with my ham radio, hands folded. Lola says each love is by proxy. Adam writes me monthly, ends every letter with "do you know this horror?" What could you alter, come to this. Stay mid and swift. Recall is best and worst. And now carved from hunger, can't say that I am a woman. Can't say that it isn't excellent at times. Fall shudders red and ochre, clean through to a various pain. Sparkling. Outside, a graphic error (as you marry or lean forward in the passenger's seat or cough to cover your shame). Once, inside a night of live stars and other improbable skylights, the conversation seemed indispensable. I'll be so willing. Ever was. Ordinary behavior, and you can walk there.
Sandra Lim's first book of poems, Loveliest Grotesque, won the 2005 Kore Press First Book Award. She has taught literature and writing at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Iowa. She lives in San Francisco.
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