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About this poet

Rae Gouirand is the author of two books of poetry: Glass is Glass Water is Water (Spork Press, 2018) and Open Winter (Bellday Books, 2011), winner of the Bellday Prize. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of California-Davis. 

Not Marrying

         after Obergefell v. Hodges, summer 2015

I still have a question to ask—
what I don’t know is which words might compose it.

I know it lives, but where it might begin—
I have to squint like I do as it downpours

in the mountains; I cannot read the road.
Driving after dark, we feel the way, the last two

who don’t roam where others seem to—
I have told at least that many I would marry you

but neither sees our names before the code.
We seek no coverage, lower tax,

don’t imagine asking those we love
to stand for something we’d keep privately. I already

swear a dress each day we wake together,
use present tense verbs as often as

they tell the present truth. What I want to ask
is daily. I want to ask it in our houses, in our tent.

I want to find our roads however long they are
as we go, for you to realize my stories

and the details of their slower telling.
Would I say what I say in front of others,

yes. I want to say it all the time
in moments equal to one another, and for time

to unfold continuously, arrive continuously
from each measure as it’s made.

We’ll find a motel tonight if we have to, or sleep
in the car that smells of our bodies unshowered,

fueled by coffee and cheese eaten off the atlas,
nuts shaken in cinnamon—what matters most

is that I might still kill your sense of what is
every time I move into your body

the force it makes me. I want the question
live as it sounds: do you yet want

beyond a promise of anything.
I do not wish to turn from hunger. I could not

marry you absent the jagged world
that multiplies, complicates—may we marry

all grief, all longing, all shapeless dissatisfaction,
all long walks distance from our origins.

Do not leave. Walk as long as you can alone,
push back hard when you object to my position.

Divorce me every moment you decide
who you are and where you should

next be. Make your way. Make it
through me, some days, pushing through my body,

through our ties. Come through yourself
as though you have all the time in the world

even as it’s always subtracting
something from itself. For music, let’s sing

absently—I don’t want to translate even once
what we mean when we stand across

from one another speaking. No symbol
assigning something else. I feel

the dress—I feel its excellence
gelling, multiplying, becoming voluminous

for me and us; I feel it peeling back
transparence as it releases.

Appear, my love, so I can step out of myself.
Make me undressable, make it impossible

for me to clothe myself, make the garments
the lies they are—attend this living

as blatantly as anyone living must, awake
to meanings carried from meaningless things.

That is all I ask. There is no moment
we could exchange our words. We will

repeat nothing, just pray we provoke
each dark as we go, go with all that begs

to marry itself to some ever-casting horizon,
to marry itself to the furthest away thing.

Horizons always move, make an argument
about time, pray something.

Would I too? Is that how I find myself?
Would I bend to recognize

the curve I make around my center, keep
a center, bend toward it equally at every point?

Bend, love, I imagine myself saying,
to where you find me, wherever I may be,

wherever you find that bending becoming
your will and your innate way. I bend and pray

you’ll marry my unfixing, as I will always be,
or draw back from what you believe of me—

that you might bend harder than law allows,
that we might never marry civilly.

Copyright © 2017 by Rae Gouirand. “Not Marrying” originally appeared in the winter/spring 2017 issue of diode poetry journal. Used with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Rae Gouirand. “Not Marrying” originally appeared in the winter/spring 2017 issue of diode poetry journal. Used with permission of the author.

 

Rae Gouirand

Rae Gouirand

Rae Gouirand is the author of two books of poetry: Glass is Glass Water is Water (Spork Press, 2018) and Open Winter (Bellday Books, 2011), winner of the Bellday Prize. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of California-Davis. 

by this poet

poem

What if: stone is what
you get. A gun of stone. What if

the table beneath it were:
& the walls catching the sound. What

if no one knew: you were
around. If people came: from stone

& found only that.
What if stones were: deaf & mute

& cold. What could be

poem

Just as I move to sound the word
I start again, fall between the place

my mouth begins and the place
it makes something: the sudden here

synonymous with place and loss,
the dark world holding my body

differently. Every night I wake
at the point I try to speak

poem

You say intimacy breathes.
I drop in.

I know the sexiest
sentence there is—the most

erotic. I know it
like I know the last moment

wants to draw us
closest.

If we could say it doesn’t go
plainly as that

knowing the most intimate
line there is