102: Love Poem

April 16, 2019 · 4:59
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Love Poem

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.