after Cynthia Arrieu-King
I meet several girls who remind me of myself: bawdy, moon-spooled, convivial but somehow always angry. I feel embarrassed looking at them, my body slipping into care, learning to paint myself into a corner.
I’m an unforgivable Leo; as in, don’t forgive me; as in, some days, I am truly awful to work with.
I am also a ruin: crumbling by day, reconsolidating nights, why I sleep so long.
Out west, I don’t dream. What is soft after running end-to-end, before the world gets big, pocketing postcards in tourist traps, trapped by fog and promise of mountain view, green everywhere, growing inside my chest, choking, hot & heavy?
Something about water signs demands my secrets: I plunge fist into self, extract hunk of wormy identity, hand it over, twitching, on a plate printed with lilacs, fill anenomic vase with it, sea-blooms quaking from the light.
If I’m guilty of anything, it’s wanting more, insatiability. There are crueler crimes than longing.
Jesse Rice-Evans is a queer poet from North Carolina. The nonfiction editor of Identity Theory, she currently teaches composition and waits tables in New York. The poem here is from her first chap, Soft Switch, forthcoming from Damaged Goods Press, and you can read her other work in future issues of Quaint, White Stag, Reality Hands, and others. Find her online @riceevans.
Image by Pavel Kazachkov