Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Our Difficult Telling—Issue 61, January 2016)

Meghan Privitello
The Art of Negotiation

When a woman asks for pleasure, she gets

an apple instead. God pretends to be

an ocean, acts as if he has no legs to walk

away from torture. His arms are a holy

topography of maleness and the promise

of a whip. Yes, woman, look away

from the whites of God’s eyes; they pretend

to be human but are absence instead.

When your lips are just ready to touch

the lips of an other, when a hand reaches

for your breast as if it were a crumbling

church, men will scream in agony

that they are not the one, that you do not live

to save them. You will love who you love,

whether it is a man with his foot on the neck

of a dove or a woman who has given up

her body to the hysteria of color.

You can love a disembodied head

and you can love a child. You can open

your legs and accept that you are

an entrance and an exit; you can stand

between these doorways without anyone

telling you to choose. My blood is not

an elegy for war or fruit. It is the foulest

language of the body; in the sun, it stinks.

God is always worriedly looking

to the west. His dead eyes lay at our feet.

He could be any animal he wants to be.

We won’t know what he is until he touches us

with his darkness. Even then we will read

the bruises he gives us as poems.