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How Can I Title This Poem on Love?
Words by Sofiul Azam
Hear me out on this, urgent as Munch’s Scream,
or should you say, To hell with it all?
It’s burning like E. coli in the urinary tract.
It’s one thing to talk wisely about it,
quite another to feel it by yourself.
You can’t shoot it straight off
with any double-barreled gun. It’s
always like Animali invisibili but you may feel it
if you like to. I’m alone in memorizing
you in your absence. It’s true--
I’d like to remember us in your presence.
In the rearview mirror, our love seems closer.
And did you see through the curtain
a bus entering the terminal when you sat
on the desk with your legs twining around me
or were you waiting for a knock on the door
when enjoying every bit of me
in the bathtub you might be thinking
—as if you had to right at that moment--
of your kids and hubby back at home?
The feelings of betrayal unraveled like balls of wool.
What was she? Not yet the sap rising in me.
A dud or an air defense system for the future?
She would know none of it, let alone
the intensity with which we said, Let’s do it
with Cole Porter’s swinging beat. I said
Once the door is closed, you are mine again.
My libido—a renewable energy—still lusts for you;
or does it need fracking like fossil fuels?
Interrupted by your getting frequent phone-calls,
I start losing you in your delight
over the prospect of orgasming with him at full tilt.
I wanted privacy for my pilgrimage in you:
you know the wetness made it holier for me
than the dryness in which you’d do
yours later on—titillating my anguish.
It was heaven on earth, imagining
you in a thick wood, us doing it standing up
or leaning on a bent plant under the sky--
our one witness. And twittering birds
could have been another. Were they
supposed to be the background music to match
with our sylvan play? No, everything was set
to be otherwise and I’m the reluctant actor in it.
How can I face the luminous dark
as you now prefer metal scrapings for my eyes?
Yet I feel love is neither a zero-sum game
nor touristy as townies’ disinterred desires.
How can I title this poem on love?
Perhaps it’s like a big ask or not so at all.
Should you call it sticky to seize winged seeds?
Am I a wildebeest crossing the river of crocs--
the river of memories with their jaws wide open?
Let me think: my past, my present, my future--
all pile up as slush on a publisher’s desk.
Nothing chimes with my rhymes! As our love
sinks like a land bridge under the briny surge,
I wish you the much-awaited orgasmic cry.
The sooner you have it with him,
the quicker you can forget me behind the mist.