by Dena Rash Guzman
Give me perfect hope if you have perfect hope.
Give me a book you wrote, if you wrote a book at all.
Give me a tissue to wipe clean my grief or if you can’t,
give me a cotton handkerchief for my mouth to ruin.
Give me money for new lipstick, if you have money.
At my hand is a bone-handled magnifying lens.
At my hand are the keys to the universe.
At my hand is the gift of queen bees being born.
At my hand is my other hand. Your ring is there.
At my hand is your opposite hand, sleeping.
Of course, I don’t mean to order you around.
Of course, I have no right to make demands.
Of course, I can’t make you do this.
Of course, I tried to force it.
Of course I did, for years.
All the time we could have played house, we played war.
All the time we could have had babies, we cheated.
All the time we could have kept together is gone instead.
All the time I misinterpret people’s expressions.
All the time I think time doesn’t exist at all.
All the time I am wrong.
This poem previously appeared in Ink Node.