All the worry in the world could not make you notice me
one second sooner. Or make me ready to meet you where you are–
in the middle of a cold drink, ice chips crushed between your teeth.
With enough concentration, I could let the party breathe around me,
imagine I am the birthday girl and everyone is here for me.
Or let the moment drift, ease me out of my grief.
I could paint my name across your lips, moist and open.
How much sun do you swallow in an hour? How much smoke
from the barbecue? You must know I prefer chicken to beef or fish.
I am singled out from my family, whose survival depends on red meat.
The cow outliving the virus, and the farmer, who tends to it
as he tends to his wife. There is no passion in him, but his hands
perform what she expects. The ritual– lots of maneuvering, so voices
and shadows do not cross. But they will always share a little bit
of flesh, undress in the same room in the dark. In this way, they are animals,
not so polite they stop craving. But the secret places do not ache
like they used to.
When your thought matches mine, we slip away to a spot under the air
conditioner, that time again when summer heat was our only enemy.
And this is my favorite part: you mistake me, my silence
for cool air, and we touch.
A Good Thing
Give me a reason
to wear the title future wife, like a scar that never fades, wrap it
around my name so it means I succeeded where the rest failed,
give my heart free–here it is, take it. Love that must be repaid is not love.
Give me a song
I can sing to reclaim the blue in me, when I must give back
the hope I borrowed. There is no impenetrable pause,
no silence, no grave. I sink into everything and am no more.
Give me a day
so perfect, I forget what endings are. The dry sound of hands
hitting the body, rubbing away female like a tide rubs away
the voice of God, hiding under the rocks lining the shore.
Give me a parting
like a promise–when you return, we will do the work.
Hard, horrible, hellish. And move closer to content.
As close as possible. I mean, nothing is impossible with you.
I am dying of hunger, my mouth open around the words
you left–I see signs we are a good thing. There is no way to say
I do not want.
Sarah Marquez is an MFA student at Lindenwood University and based in Los Angeles. Her work has been published and forthcoming in various magazines and journals, including Human/Kind Press, Kissing Dynamite, Sandy River Review, The Hellebore, The Shore and Twist in Time Magazine. When not writing, she can be found reading, sipping coffee, or tweeting @Sarahmarissa338.