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Theater of Inheritance

Wrong to say I accept the rough
face of my family. Your father,

so young-looking, your mother
even more. 
I grew older than boys

around me because I was held
back. She’s not reading, she’s not

developing fast enough
. And yet
the five feet of me, the hundred

pounds by third grade. When I salted
my food with water, flooded

the plate, my mother was glad
I could reform my meal to her

pleasures. It was a holiday.
I came back with more to celebrate,

my belly, my bounty. My people
rushed out of cities by ark,

by foot with bread in hand,
by foot and eyes forward or else

befell salt. Befell water. 
When I asked my grandmother

if I would blonde with age,
she laughed With age, perhaps

And knowledge. Little
I was in my knowledge

of my olive skin. There is
a school for that. When I asked

the rabbi if I could not believe
in God awhile, she said

Yes, and perhaps you shall
return to Him
. I return

to God with pressure. 
How bedfellows perform

duties to claim sainthood:
Get me on my knees to incense

miracles of the body.
Or: Give into a lordship

that has no religion but
the body. My mother cares

too much about my body,
was pleased to see my skin

lighten with less time in the sun.
Yet pounds of flesh: A disappointment.

I claimed myself 
a sixteenth century desire, born

in the wrong time. When I told 
my mother my lover’s name,

she asked What is he?
If not of blood, then

mirror: I, his 
Lilium candidum.

He, my devotionals. And not
my first. Mother, I glory

my deeds: A hundred times
I’ve assumed heaven.

Ontology, One Less Ribbed

What to owe when something necessary

is no longer in need? A man in my bed,

then fragrance, then shadow. 

My hand curbs loneliness

awhile. Fat builds its kingdom

at my hips, and is this how you see 

me, Lord, your eyes abuzz? Regret me,

Lord, for I shuffle crumbs and animals

alike. Is this what you desired drowned

at the great sinking of the world? 

Flood me with want. My bossy

conquerors require butter

and jam, liver delicately spread,

bones and skins where taste


               Begin again with me:

Beg into me an ornament

whose purpose is figlike:

Satiates the eye its hungers. 

Then the mouth. Drawls. Manipulates.

Repeats. Repeats and passes down

to dusk. Lord, whose delights crave

naming: A fig is a fig 

regardless of season,

yet the leaves, Lord, 

the leaves—I clothe myself

in old wantonness

as one dark need

informs another. 


image: Catherine Sinow