KATI MERTZ

 

 

THIS IS HOW TO BE GOOD

The body is a regret we all recognize Passion
like the mini-van parked crooked in the trees
Deciding whether to call it fucking or making love
but doing it fast near a tea factory to smell
like bergamot after This is a list I’ve compiled
Tied like a bow around a basket called anxiety
Maybe I mean handle me the same way A choked
throat Crocusface purple on the inside Tempting
a secret voice to which we all wanted to donate breath
Drinking through a straw all the wine we spilled the night
before we knew what our hands could do Willing
toward intimacy A silly kiss on the corner
of a screaming mouth A single daffodil in a field
of daffodils Read the dye stains on my hairline
The rustpool in my showerhead Sweet crusted milk
on the outside of my cereal bowl Also called fear
Also called Cheerios The little cinnamon cohort
on your shoulder Burning is what we called it
Singing is what we asked it to do In the morning
spent from waking The moan is my foot asleep
under your foot Cringing as we look for more
of each other Asking with our eyes forever

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THIS IS HOW TO BE GOOD

There is a street you are
building Building a fence
Building a house Building
a baby A baby building
blocks for a pet in a town
Here you are Trying
too hard to make wet drywall
a euphemism In the bedroom
a fireplace for a life stoked
with a glass hammer
A happy woman also a fire
hazard Rosy in a bathtub
with an affinity for chipping
nail polish A Phillips-head
in her purse Never careful
enough to call She catches you
smelling housewives in a sizeable
backyard Between blocks of like
houses Your hand a finesse
of baseboard & bannister
Extended to pay the contractor
Excuse her while she finds
a train to chase A tawny
moonscape too heavy
for a carry-on She’s looking
for a balloon Maybe she’ll
bring her baby back & maybe
built it all all over again

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