I want to take a break from writing poems
About what I know about prisons, or
Poisoned water
The feeling of sun warmed brick on my face,
My open skin,
And being somebody’s fiction,
I want to stand steady. I want to part my lips and
Suck the air inward until my bones are
Buoyant, and I want to
Write poems about my first kaleidoscope,
And how I think I’d like to fall in love, but assume it’s not something
Women like me get to do.
I want to write poems about the rhododendrons
And how I would imagine
Myself if I were a collection of seashells or antique silver knives or succulents.
I want to write poems about my favorite places
To find the hands of lovers
And the smell of beignets in the French Market
And how the kudzu goes where it wants
I want to write about myself
Escaping the structure,
Pulling myself out of some window
Broken by black bloc bricks
And reaching and reaching and reaching and
Tumbling downward
And Just Letting It.
About me plummeting.
About workers retrieving the silver platters
And the fine linens
And the good China
And re-purposing each thing that was not created for them.
I want to write a poem
About dancing for the heads of masters
Placed in rows on those platters
And pulling down fences with my teeth.
I want to write a poem about
Writing poems in the dark, undressed,
The pins in my hair.
My teeth, sinking into strawberries.
Old glass doorknobs.
The insides of my thighs and wrists and
How my pulse
Can carry the rest of the rhythm.
How my heart can get there on its own.


Nina Szarka

Photo credit: Coverpage for POEMS