The Surge, or Remember the Time

after Grey’s Anatomy S09E02

I cut my body into little suns
– Carrie Lorig

patience is canon—something to spit out,
re-engulf, me, that I may be re-shaped
without heaving muscle, the clamps
anchor my scapula, your lighthouse
done ignoble, instead miraculous

hands, on fire;
catch me in a mood and discover
how little I can keep my mouth shut,
how fisted I grow when pressed—

I don’t remember closing the self off
like I have done, but again I am
tremulous and unforgiven.

Ask again for me to unclench—
I meant it—I’ll do anything you want,
just drag me in, wind against me

like a fist of thread, of deep
secrets, of quiet evenings under window,
soothe, my hands no longer
in need of putting out

Self as Liminal, Endless

I am both wife and partner
as I am both obsessed and obsession
both me and not-me;

How I am both reflective and reflexive
how I straddle and enmesh,
brim catatonic after tramadol, roped to a one-bedroom
windows overlooking alley, I go
without underwear
all summer.

I am a cotton blazer and droplet earrings, chelsea boot and braided low pony; I refuse to behave, to look forward to anything, meandering spring fawns, a hydrangea impossible behind one ear, the swell of mediocrity I leave hung by the door.

I write about myself in these distant ways
crushed by limitation, a question of desire
but don’t confuse entitlement with desire:
when you are let down by something,
don’t be startled, write a letter you do not
intend to mail, the beaded threads you slip
beneath the weight of knowing that we are all
dying but I don’t concern myself with this,
instead just wanting to be cornered, looking
like I want to be touched (how does wanting look,
except like it should last longer), my dry spell
the thing I don’t talk about with anyone.

My desperation: first of many. Hollow, or
hollowed, depending on where you stand;

how I ask for opening as treasure panel, hidden limb.
I hang my coat by the fire and slip into my nightskin,
my mourningown. Doing my best means letting best
become endless. Standing inside an awning is the best
place to meet an old friend.

Jesse Evans-Rice

Jesse Rice-Evans is a Southern poet and rhetorician. She is a doctoral student in the English program at the CUNY Graduate Center and the author of several chapbooks, including NOON (dancing girl press, 2018) and HONOR // SHAME (Gap Riot Press, forthcoming). Read her nonfiction and poetry in Heavy Feather Review, Monstering, Entropy, and The Wanderer, among others. She teaches queer texts and composition at the City College of New York.



Featured image by Sergio Sainz Vidal