(USE PSEUDONYM)_for_The Matter

The Matter

Dance, she instructs winkingly, within a ring of men,
So he, watching, will be aware that you are wanted.
Or, perhaps, count three dates until he puts his hands
On your inner thighs. Pressing outwards, inwards — wait.

My fortune told me silence can be a catchall. Well,
I can’t quite recall. Maybe a salt cellar, a cat’s cradle, a catcall.
Learning to live in snow, my memory blurs like lenses in from cold.
What’s the matter when the pattern’s arrhythmic?

I buried all the prayers. I burned all the notes. I wrote only
In dirt and ashes, because my psychic said love was dead.
Its ghost wandered after me with big sad eyes, swearing:
Lust is wasted on the lustful. Hope is wasted on the truthful.

As for me, my heart is a wishing well. My throat is a flume.
My mouth is a fountain, open and — wait.
Hurry. I dam my emptying ponds. My breath catches,
Or do I catch my breath? I run breathlessly after.

Honestly, I was thinking of Catholic crucifixion. A priest:
You, who have been starving, must now wait.
I slide my tongue over teeth. I dress, slipping silk across skin,
Uncross my ankles under the tables. I undress.

It is better not to wait, but it is best that you wait.
The ecstasy is in the drive. The driveway. The delivery.
I am eyeing for warning signs, like a weighty imposition of my
Personal Space that announces: I am a hunter.

The truth is this problem, the problem is this truth.
It was a slow October, so I walked out on all my lovers.
A waiter provided good advice I must have slighted:
Love, all men do not love the same. But love it is.

Some love with eyes shut, all hands and grasping touch,
A foolish few want a girl that’s gone, dream of time machines.
Some love distance, squinting to see a smile. I love
Like an expanding universe, a red-shifted Hubble’s law.

I can’t wait. I won’t waste all that sweetness,
Fruit juice dripping down my lips, onto my chin.
He says my slant rhymes are beautiful.
That’s the matter: my pattern beats arrhythmic.

About the Author: T. Allison is a Michigan Law student, a former editor and writer by trade, and a lover of antique things.

Artwork: John Spiegleman