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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, June 14, 2018.
About this Poem 

“Strange agitation happens in a New Orleans summer—a body feels restless, heavy, pressed. The heat can feel like a cage that forces a person into a hyperawareness of the limitations of their body and situation. This poem is about the desire to be transformed into something larger and more meaningful than what one is. After feeling the weight of life, feeling stuck or trapped, it’s a balm to imagine oneself as better, faithful, gracious, heroic—all those aspirational things that might fall beyond our grasp.”
—Jerika Marchan

[A Crumb in the Cobblestone—Tell Me This Landscape Darkened Without You]

Say despite all the churches with their unlocked doors
and outstretched strangers’ palmskin, I hungered still

—squandered when, fell through like a crumb, I sat waiting
for discovery or disintegration—something marvelous
teething at the surface—a crumb, devotional, religious ecstatic
closer to being worthy

Desire me ruthless and naked but still in my Sunday dress 
you opened the window—we humid and slept open
into dreaming, yes, conduit. Conduit or nothing. Conduit
or bust. Nothing or busted. Hug the breakwater’s edge

more the grit, my fingers—whorl, the inches of all 
concrete make miles of this low, walled city.  

Pretend expansive with me like ocean.

River.  Lake.  Bodies.

Copyright © 2018 by Jerika Marchan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 14, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Jerika Marchan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 14, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Jerika Marchan

Jerika Marchan

Jerika Marchan is the author of SWOLE (Futurepoem, 2018), her debut book.