A Theory and Other Poems


A Theory

When you’re beautiful
they treat you like you’re visible.
Their eyes are quiet as yellow
darts of dandelion in grass, a hallway
of high school lockers. Or their lips
float up, friendly and interested as if
here they feel safe. Suddenly you’re inside
the homes, the dining room, being passed
a roll of bread. Suddenly they expect you
to answer in the same tongue.
You think of all the days before,
when your loneliness was a stain
to be stepped over at the edge of the room,
when their long necks crisscrossed
above you like a canopy, keeping
their language from you.
I have, in the long solitude of my body,
asked for something else.
Even if I become the face on the magazine,
I can’t forget: knowing holds
a long low note in my chest.

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