Poem-A-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is now distributed via email, web, and social media to 300,000+ readers free of charge and is available for syndication by King Features.

The Erotic Is a Measure Between

About this Poem 

“I’ve kept Audre Lorde’s essay ‘Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power’ close by me ever since Nikky Finney introduced me to the work at the Cave Canem retreat many years ago. So much of sexuality is posited as something enacted upon women by hetero men. I wanted to complicate or challenge that notion. While re-reading Lorde’s essay in preparation for a panel discussion on taboo and sexuality in African-American poetry, a line from Lorde (which is now the title) gave me an avenue to attempt that.”
Kyle Dargan

The Erotic Is a Measure Between

Kyle Dargan

after Lorde

Your body is not my pommel horse
nor my Olympic pool or diving board.
Your body is not my personal Internet
channel nor my timeline,
nor my warm Apollo spotlight.
Your body is not my award
gala. Your body is not my game—
preseason or playoffs.
Your body is not my political party
convention. Your body is not
my frontline or my war’s theatre.
Your body is not my time
trial. Your body is not my entrance
exam or naturalization interview.
I am a citizen of this skin—that
alone—and yours is not to be
passed nor won. What is done—
when we let our bodies sharpen
the graphite of each other’s bodies
—is not my test, not my solo
show. One day I’ll learn. I’ll prove
I know how to lie with you without
anticipating the scorecards of your eyes,
how I might merely abide—we two
unseated, equidistant from the wings
in a beating black box, all stage.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Kyle Dargan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 3, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Kyle Dargan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 3, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.