This is one of my “weird” poems from about a year ago, which I’m not 100% sure about. There are things I love about it, and things I don’t, things that I think work and things that don’t quite hit the mark. But here it is anyway, the way it came together. At the very least, it has value because I tried something different, and got a little writing practice out of it.
I want you to linger on my mouth like curry goat
slight spice tingle on my tongue, turmeric grease around my lips, sauce grit in the grooves of my gums, strings of flesh still stuck in my teeth hours later.
I want to smell you on my fingertips after three handwashes and a shower, the way spices lodge their scents into fingerprints, invisibly pungent, impossible to ignore.
I want you to fill me up like ground provisions,
breadfruit, sweet potato, dasheen, plantain,
sitting heavy and comfortable in my belly, making me feel loved and whole and at home.
I want you to make me wince with pleasure-pain like the Scotch Bonnet at the top of the rice and peas, my lips red and wet and plump with heat.
I want you to quench my thirst for love like ice-cold coconut water on a Sunday at the beach, dripping down my chin and into my soul.
All my flaws are flames now, drawing your moth wings in.
Your eyes dance when they see me.
You beg me to tell you more.
You say I have soft hair and a nice soul.
I can’t think of a better compliment.
I saw Theo before he saw me. He was the second groomsman to come down the aisle, a bridesmaid on his arm. He was smiling, genuinely and awkwardly – he’d always hated being on display. He looked good – fit, but not that obsessive revenge-body fit he’d been the first year after our breakup. He’d cut his hair short again, like when we were in school, and he’d grown his beard back, just to frame around his mouth.
He didn’t see me as he and the bridesmaid walked past my pew. He didn’t notice me watching him until halfway through the ceremony, when he glanced absently over my row and then quickly back at me. We locked eyes. He smiled. He’d never smiled at me like that before. It felt … peaceful. There was no more anger, no more pain. He had grown and healed and forgiven, as had I. I knew, without him saying it, that he understood and accepted the choice I had made now, and could finally see that it had been the right one, for both of us.
I folded myself away like winter sweaters in April to love you like you’d never been loved.
I poured it into your cork-stoppered heart relentlessly, watching it splash back on my feet but refusing to give up.
I loved you.
You text me something funny
and laughter bubbles up and out of my lips and I remember joy.
And then pinprick tears make the bubbles pop
to reveal how much I miss you.