Someone Come Forward and Claim Responsibility
A bomb went off in the City, sent bodies to the street, the blocks
and blocks of buildings orgasming shrapnel. And I didn’t care,
didn’t stop for a moment to think of anything else and you didn’t
look away either.
Once, you read a poem so sincere it was the first time I saw
you—by which I mean really saw you. Your soul stripped bare and
open and you opened me when you read
PPPPPPPPPPAs the sun rises, you look up
PPPPPPPPPPsynonyms for afraid. You find sorry
And I can’t say how sorry and afraid and backwards I feel.
My husband inescapable, but you became the escape with your
fuck you beauty. Our lips touched and your skin felt like mine and
I learned, finally, what real bliss is. It isn’t clear oceans and white
sands and beach palms but your palm on mine and you are beyond
anything I’ve ever known.
For days we stayed in bed while chaos worked around us. A
manhunt was going on beyond our window and we were dark and
in the dark, speaking an unlanguaged verse. The island of our
bodies a new kind of poetry. We muted news and all I wanted to
your favorite song
your first memory
what kind of cake you had on your fifth birthday
where the touch of my lips would make you breathe faster
Tell me your clichés, I said. And you sang to me. I don’t remember
On your desk I learned a little but not enough. A Tomas
Tranströmer collection, a dime bag of weed, photos of your sisters
and friends. I am in one of them. A twenty dollar bill you forgot
We are everything and nothing alike. Tell me more, I wanted to
say, but didn’t.
In a military encyclopedia I have, the Department of Defense
defines vulnerability as:
a weakness which allows an attacker to reduce a system’s
the intersection of three elements: a system susceptibility or flaw,
attacker access to the flaw, and attacker capability to exploit the
Our City was/is/will always be vulnerable.
Just tell her how you feel, Laura said. Let yourself be vulnerable.
Vulnerability is not the right word. I can’t let an experience of
individual desire take precedence over a categorical one. There is
no English word for that.
In linguistics, this is called an accidental gap, and maybe that’s
where I’m at. Waiting for something to arrive me. Waiting for you.
Now, I’m miles away and nowhere near. Yesterday the husband
and I had sex and I thought of you: the shape of your mouth when I
made you come. The way your hips rose. The way your
hair—sticky with sweat—clung to your neck and even that wasn’t
enough. He felt rough and dirty and for the first time I hated how
hard he was.
I said go slower.
I said be softer.
Like this? He asked, or this? And slipped his fingers between my
There were no more bombs outside and it was quiet, just the two of
us. I didn’t move as he moved, and limp, not for a second wet or
responsive, said, stop.
And he said I’m sorry said I can’t be a woman
And even he knows I can’t unknow your touch.