by Donika Kelly
1 Come morning we are fish.
We flop and gasp and rub our scales
against one another. We iridesce
Orange and green and shred the flannel
with our thrashing.
2 All day, away from you, I pine,
bark and needle. I break into the bank
of sky. Inside, there is a thick
ring, the newest ring. A season
of growth—of sun and water—
3 All day, away from me, I imagine you,
the sun and water. You are salt and space
and long, long arms of heat. Both the light
and what reflects it.
4 When I see you again, I am the strongest
man in the world. I hurl tires and pull trucks
with my breast for you.
You are also the strongest man
in the world. You carry barrels of cement
all over the house. When we arm wrestle,
I tell you, between gritted teeth, of my life as a tree:
How tall I was.
How brown and green.
5 At night, the bed is covered with pollen
and scales. The room is bright and wet.
My muscles are so small now.
I fill my lungs with the entirety
of your name, and your head
on my breast rises and sets. Rises and sets.
"Love Poem," from BESTIARY by Donika Kelly. Copyright © 2016 by Donika Kelly. Used by permission of Graywolf Press.