by Julia C. Alter
The man at the hardware store
asks me what I’m looking for.
Oh me? I’m not looking for anything.
My friend is looking for a spigot…
but he’s not my friend.
He’s a sunflower. He’s Jesus
with a tiny braid, mask strap
mashing down his hair
and his big ears, a tape
measure in his back pocket,
a denim jacket, and a backpack
full of clementines.
From the beginning I’ve said I’m no good
at the physical world. I am only good
at words—recognizing the pizza place
meant wood-fired or handcrafted
and not wood-crafted, that enchiladas before noon
are brunchiladas, and that if I take a bath
with this man we’re bath buddies.
Not fuck buddies, not buddy-buddies,
not friends with benefits. Not necessarily
lovers, or people who need a single thing
from one another—just two tender humans
descending into water.
Julia C. Alter holds an MFA in Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and appeared in numerous print and online journals, including The Southern Humanities Review, The Raleigh Review, Fugue, Sixth Finch, Crab Creek Review, Foundry and Palette Poetry. She lives in Vermont with her son.