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My Left Arm

I was a fruit cake meat loaf of influences –
my name was Sloppy Joe,
I was canned pineapple slices
left out in the sun.

I called you soft names
against all reason,
on a leaf on a lake.

you turn to me
to say:

“language is like a giraffe.”

before I can
smile you say:

don’t say you understand I don’t even understand I don’t need or want to be guided reimbursed indulged or pitied I need to be seen and unshaped so that I can accept it and know that it’s real

I didn’t say you were wrong.

I think:

the love we made
is honey, not rotting
where we can’t reach it.

after you left

after you left

I ate
my left arm

and I
turned into

Incomplete List of Emptinesses

We read about different kinds of emptiness, one for every kind of life. The first thing is [something]. It is associated with the words mother, father, doctor. It sounds like the name of your first love. This emptiness will prevent you from brushing your teeth, makes you fall asleep with the lights on. Another emptiness is the one you make breathing holes for. This emptiness is like the long side of a doorframe; you are measured against it. It smells like the morning you wake up early and watch your lover sleep, soft round face set in relief against the sky. The buildings of the block across from you form a haphazard horizon, like a crooked set of teeth. This emptiness can fit in its pockets. You can cooperate with this emptiness by learning one dance/specialty dish for dinner parties, keeping abreast of local politics, and by opening and maintaining a savings account. Investigate the causes underlying your misgivings and embrace the healthy distinction between what you feel and what you know. Floss and speak your mind.


image: Tara Wray