between two evils, i always pick the one i never tried before


between two evils, i always pick the one i never tried before

                      —Mae West


you were an omen afraid to be seen, replete with

disguises, cloak and dagger, master of camouflage,

committed and burning intensity, evading the gaze of

others, prevailing community standards, evolving

standards of decency, nervous around dump-trucks

and landfills, coarse walls and cruel thorns, pushing

yourself off a cliff, never waking up in time to greet

the morning rush, your feet killing you, god’s dice,

squirrels with souls, gross strawberry yogurt, white

girls dying over spring break, whiteboys special,

especially the kind ones, you were a hedgehog and i

was a fox, i the multitalented one, you claimed to do

one thing well, i wondered what you thought your

one skill was, what does the fox say, double

consciousness, nurtured and cultivated, million-dollar

bonsai in a one-light town, lucille clifton said that

everybody needs both windows and mirrors in their

lives, mirrors to see themselves and windows through

which to see the world, miss lucille was talking about

race, you said our house didn’t need windows,

because everything you desired was right there, i

wondered if this revelation meant you were cheating, i

said your best quality was between your legs, distance

frothed into wanting, the first cut is the deepest,

rubbing salt into the wound, deep state totally

invested in our love, all your base are belong to us,

neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night

could keep you from beer, wings, and fully-loaded

skins, religious, you rattled off the rules but broke

them, you possessed a photographic memory but

preferred to forget, sprawled out on my bed, looking

cute and vulnerable, lying through your teeth, you had

performance anxiety, sensitive, curious, and

voyeuristic, usually about my musculature, not sure if

i was more disappointed when you said hillbilly elegy

was a good book, or when you admitted you thought

ayn rand made sense, you said all of our love, could fit

in a tiffany box, you meant this in a good way, i said

so can a turd, you kissed me, fighting for attention,

you said life boiled down to, what have you done for

me lately???, i laughed and laughed, because you were

the most generous person i knew, is the pope

catholic, ten commandments, happy maze, tenderness

and faith, real talk, beautiful misunderstanding, bare

and complete worth, resigning to fate, giving in to

temptation, finally, unabashed, limitless consumption,

rituals surrounding death, elaborate and exhausting,

first, stone fruit, fig and honey, sage and thyme, next,

chrysalis, formaldehyde, dirt, and poison, then,

frosted breath, chalky terrafoam, and the sound of

silence, bad poetry, rupi kaur, empty calories, tainted

water, denial a surprisingly effective coping

mechanism, only, much later, happily ever after

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