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  • Love Poem that Ends at Popeyes
  • Destiny O. Birdsong (bio)

it's valentine's day & i hear tires on the slick streetsit is raining a slow         steady rainthe kind that makes me saddest because it seemsendless         & even after         the sky         having forgottenits big-eyed blue         stands aloof         distantwhile the sun         mumbling from her side         of the bedsettles                 into         a dozei am thinking         of the meal         i won't have to bravethose streets     clamp-thighed         in a passenger seat to eator the flowers i will not have to accept         awkwardlybecause flowers are such         strange gifts         why undressthe ground         just to prove                 i am special?we could go to the botanical         gardens         hold handssmell the smells that come at me         all at once         in a sneezeor we could pull over on the highway         run through fieldsof bonnets         which are sometimes         so buckled with skythey look                         bruised

why has no one ever loved me that way a bonnetmight engorge itself with blue         so much it is a newcolor         unnameable breathless         my loves         holdtheir breaths     calculating         they want me         to lookat the food & the flowers & the tiny golden heartrun through         with a golden thread & say thank you thank youyes         i am wearing silver but now i will wearonly gold & then they expect me to lie down quicklyas if we are children & the fields are bloated with green & it is may

somewhere         the man who doesn't love me         though i wishi could say the same         is pacing a supermarket floorhis body         a reflection         in the waxed tile [End Page 80] really he is two men one flesh man         one floor man& both are moving in a direction away from methey are picking out fistfuls of roses or maybe         tulipsmaybe assorted flowers with daffodils& they know the woman he really loves will dip her noseinto them like a doe & say         thank you thank you& she will kiss him with her tacky lips & for the first timei am not angry that he might lay her down& ask if he can do         the things he will do

of course she will say yes that is what         you saywhen you love someone         right?         it's what i would say& this time not because i've learned what happenswhen you say no or when you say         nothing         at all

i am not sad about         whatever she will let him         door what she will do to him to make him         smilemake his mouth         form     & his breath catch the emptiness where a fewof his teeth used to be         & make it acheit's a good ache when something is missing & people still love youi want him to be satisfied         i want him to be happyalso         i want         to be happy         we can do that separatelyor we can do it         together         i am a hopelessromantic         i still make wishes before i blow         out candleslast week i asked an oracle when         not ifi'd find true love         it said bad reception tryagain girl         & i am trying i am lyingin bed with my arms around myself         thinking of whati will eat when i get hungry     i am willingto wait for what i want         like when i pull upto the window & the cashier says it'll take ten minutesfor the spicy dark         & i say yeah yeah that's oki still want it         & i pull my car over & i playmy music & i imagine the fried flecks of floursmothering in the saliva         of my mouth& oh the biscuits & oh the honey & oh the red beansin their salty velvet     & i think         this is my own goldit is not daffodil gold         it is not supermarket-rosesgold         it is not a thin-         stringed gold attached to a locketof expectations         with my face clasped betweentwo         composite         hearts

but it is good & it is filling & it is enough [End Page 81]

Destiny O. Birdsong

Destiny O. Birdsong is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist whose work has appeared...


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