A Tyrant Seeks Conclusion in the Known Self

Emily Kendal Frey

In California we went to the dive bar and I lost my wallet
I remember falling into it
And maybe kissing against someoneís garage
I fell on city sidewalks
In California and other places
The trees looked at me tenderly
Iím guessing
You do not love me because your mom did not love you
I understand the equation
Meanwhile, I make a butter fire in the kitchen
Two times I heat the butter for the eggs
Both times I burn it
Just observe, I tell
My students, describe what is
The woman next to me on the airplane
Moves pictures from her wallet to her pocket
In case we die
I cry with my eyes closed and the Sprite goes by
The unconscious drives us to master
The childhood situation
I wonder if there are spiders
Here, in the carpet or between the seats
A place with bugs is so
Much more friendly
The book I am reading tells me
Ours is an earthbound crisis
That until we cease to dominate
With doing, we will fail
At being
My fingernails
Are the color of rotten peaches
On Orcas Island thereís a stone tower on top of Mt. Constitution
Some days you can see for miles, the many
Mountain ranges and pine-crusted bodies
In my mind
I practice dying
I throw myself over the edge
The plane is making its way into the streaking
Sun of this country
In Mexico I slept in a clay structure facing the ocean
I could hear the wind constantly
I bought you a tin heart with a hole in it
I brought it back in my backpack
In bed you said Donít make fun of me
When Iím old, okay?
When I think of your face
I have to think of me
You are holding my knee
And now I look into you
Now I look up and face
The abject fear
I am an animal
The bedroom is trees
Go limp a voice tells me
When a person passes me on their way to the restroom
I pretend they are the kindly face
Of god
Look deep into the eyes
Of the divine
Itís so beautiful isnít it
To believe you are looking
At the future
Copyright © 2013 by Emily Kendal Frey. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 17, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

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Further Reading

Contemporary Love Poems
corydon & alexis, redux
by D. A. Powell
by Matthew Rohrer
by Matthew Rohrer
by Pura López-Colomé
Footprint on Your Heart
by Gary Lenhart
Happy first anniversary (in anticipation of your thirty ninth)
by Bob Hicok
Hey You
by Adrian Blevins
Holding Pattern
by Timothy Liu
Hotel Berlin
by Cynthia Cruz
I Want the Certainty of Love in Another Language
by Christie Ann Reynolds
If You Must Hide Yourself From Love
by Christopher Salerno
It Was Raining In Delft
by Peter Gizzi
Long Distance II
by Tony Harrison
Love Poem
by Graham Foust
Marriage: A Daybook
by Nicole Cooley
My Heart
by Kim Addonizio
Rime Riche
by Monica Ferrell
San Antonio
by Naomi Shihab Nye
by Maureen N. McLane
The Ear is an Organ Made for Love
by E. Ethelbert Miller
The Ecstasy
by Phillip Lopate
The Embrace
by Mark Doty
The Emperor
by Matthew Rohrer
The Kiss
by Stephen Dunn
The Long Deployment
by Jehanne Dubrow
The Love-Hat Relationship
by Aaron Belz
The Meaning of Zero: A Love Poem
by Amy Uyematsu
To Dorothy
by Marvin Bell
When a Woman Loves a Man
by David Lehman
When Someone Says I Love You the Whole
by Karyna McGlynn