I Defer Pleasure
Let it build. Become
a wall. Then four. I install
a spotlight, prepare my speech,
knock over a chair, try
to negotiate geometry. First a house,
a block, then a whole city of wanting.
A pianist rolls her upright Wurlitzer uphill
to play a nocturne with eyes closed.
On the downhill, racks full of fabric
the color of the crest of a wave when the sun hits.
Funyuns at the corner store. Children chalk the sidewalk,
charting territory for hopscotch. Pipelines beneath
boxes 1 through 7. Traffic sign, sinews taut.
A man with palms outstretched.
A man in a blinking box signaling to hurry up and cross,
darting eyes saying, don’t look me so long in the eyes.
Around the corner, at the flower stand,
how I adorn myself. Snatch every tulip, lilac,
hyacinth, night-blooming jasmine, rose — I gather
all blossoms to crown, fill my pockets, stuff
the remaining petals in my mouth. By fistful, by boatload,
I play pretend. That what I won’t let myself have
is my horizon. Water that won’t run out.
I walk three blocks to reach the edge
of an inland sea, minnows circling my feet.
Now the water is oil. The water is lead.
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