Testimony – Imani Davis

If we’re not counting last august,
he’s a good man. Smiles at cashiers as he tucks
coins he’ll forget about into a jean pocket. Never misses
Mother’s Day dinner. A Facebook photo
of him at four comes to mind: gap-toothed exception gleefully learning
new words for “more.” Trying out “gimme” or “mine.” Years after
he’s spread into maturity, his neighbors swear him division 1
charming. The type of sweet that makes you stop asking questions.

cut to the swoon
of the night. practiced enough in tepid
mirror choreography, i swing
at memorized angles to a track
by a publicly bad man. watch privately bad men
recite each verse. understand that this moment is a product
of repetition. step. sway.
slither. sweat.
steal. sing something
about forgiveness. smile. start again.

He couldn’t have I know him he has such a nice smile I bet he smiled
at you just right and you’re ashamed of what happened next you know you
have to own up to your choices you know that was a choice right I know
him he studies so hard business I think or communication one of those
jobs where you gotta know how to say the right thing until you don’t I
hear the starting salary is amazing crazy how much you can make to
hustle people out of their

underwear. blue boyshorts from the men’s section. above that,
jean shorts mom hesitantly approved on a whim. a striped racerback cami i
never gave back to my sister. she’d know what to do right now. red
converse stick to the floor on my way out of that little hell. none of
it touches my body again.

Pema Chödrön

“Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened.”

Pema Chödrön

Want – Joan Larkin

She wants a house full of cups and the ghosts
of last century’s lesbians; I want a spotless
apartment, a fast computer. She wants a woodstove,
three cords of ash, an axe; I want
a clean gas flame. She wants a row of jars:
oats, coriander, thick green oil;
I want nothing to store. She wants pomanders,
linens, baby quilts, scrapbooks. She wants Wellesley
reunions. I want gleaming floorboards, the river’s
reflection. She wants shrimp and sweat and salt;
she wants chocolate. I want a raku bowl,
steam rising from rice. She wants goats,
chickens, children. Feeding and weeping. I want
wind from the river freshening cleared rooms.
She wants birthdays, theaters, flags, peonies.
I want words like lasers. She wants a mother’s
tenderness. Touch ancient as the river.
I want a woman’s wit swift as a fox.
She’s in her city, meeting
her deadline; I’m in my mill village out late
with the dog, listening to the pinging wind bells, thinking
of the twelve years of wanting, apart and together.
We’ve kissed all weekend; we want
to drive the hundred miles and try it again.

thank you for the source, Laura Olin