Let me refer to myself in glorious ways:
Colors seem brighter, the sky is a shocking blue.
I carry my stomach in this bowl
and earth is planted in my blood.
From your last letter, I gather hills.
I’m trying to keep my tenderness in check.
Trying to see what kind of grill the neighbors have
is everything I couldn’t do before.
Now brown eggs shift heavy in my palms, this bowl.
Words make their way up my thigh.
I swear very nice boy and I refer to myself.
No. The hills are holding you and I refer to myself.
Let’s be honest: I need a real man, I say out loud.
Every weakness I have settles into a tree trunk,
stays all winter. I don’t know if I mean it.
Winter has lasted five years already.
This morning I press into the edges of my stomach.
My mother makes coffee in California.
Ladies will say we are expert with machines
but they will be under two pitchers of sangria.
I said you could make music out of this.
Ingesting artificial palm trees, exploding.
Your letters are getting shorter. I am getting close
enough to the sun to touch the tip of its cigar.
We carry what is shocking and heavy in blood.
Music seems brighter: the sky the sky.
Excerpted from Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker. Copyright (c) 2015 by Morgan Parker. First published by Switchback Books. Tin House edition (c) 2021.