when will you start to miss me

by m mick powell

it’s true i restrained myself from getting on my knees
and lapping the spilt wine from the floor after you left.

a pathetic cross to bear: my body bearing the burden
of proof; my desire being asked for a language that existed

beyond itself and a creole coming crystallized in a bloom of ash;
a new alphabet convexed in cinder, my tongue all covered in soot.

marvel at this new grease between my teeth, at my regal undressing,
baptismal lap dance in the land of the living. most dying things die

without ever knowing the theft of a wild heat, the sacrilege of building a god
in the image of a numbed wound, the making of a body into a garland of rose

dust and magnolia glitter. i’m saying i am most lonely when i remember.
i’m saying a window is an entrance and an exit and neither at once,

that winter is the first and the last season of the year. that i loved you
before you left and, after that, i waited, made the jasmine rice soaked

in coconut milk, the lemongrass tea sweetened with nectar, the appointment
with the psychiatrist in new haven; sorted an arrangement of blood-wet rubies,

sharp-shined and contorted to the odd shapes of my hand, wore them
and caught on fire. burned. magnified. nursed the hurt in a gilded coffin

and felt no better. i’m saying you hurt me. i’m saying
there’s a version of this story in which you are the villain.

m mick powell is a queer black femme feminist, poet, and professor. Her poems and essays have been published or are forthcoming in Frontier Poetry, Tinderbox Poetry, Winter Tangerine, Apogee Journal, and others. Mick’s chapbook “chronicle the body” won Yemassee Journal’s second annual chapbook contest and was released in March 2019. She enjoys talking about beauty products, bodies, and baked goods. More here: www.mickpowellpoet.com 

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