Before I had a body I had nothing— I lean back and make a list
of everything that’s ever been so I can decide which parts I’d like to eat:
I swallow birds, bees, blues, petals, seeds, and sometimes whispers
that wander down the street. Outside, my life becomes a thicket—
I prick my thumb, touch the wicked interior. What else
could I love except for the spider I find beneath Rose’s waist?
There’s no use being restless. Rose tells me we can’t
transcend ourselves, but that isn’t true—I’m always trying
to touch the borders of the self. Here, there is a place that doesn’t see you.
Sometimes she calls it “interiority,” but I call it “love as a dark hallway.”
Sometimes the lights flicker. Rose takes a bath
when she doesn’t want to talk to me. When I’m alone:
a skull or a ghost, a dagger floating through the hall.
Eric Stiefel is a poet living in St. Louis, Missouri, where he currently serves as fellow in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis.