Today's poem is by Ariane Bolduc

Desire & Need

What he looked like, who he was,
doesn't matter. Relevant: we were
standing on a bridge. An Asian bridge
that arched above the pond. In the pond,
koi fish. Relevant: I never liked koi fish.
Their fat bodies look diseased,
blotches of orange and their thick, sealy skin.
Relevant: I chose orange as my favorite color
in the second grade because no one else would
and its feelings would be hurt. Relevant:
he was smoking silently beside me, tapped
ash into the water below. Relevant: I was staring
at his lips. Relevant: he stared down
at the fish, at their O-mouths, poking through
the surface. Hungry, hollow mouths,
pulling for the sky as lips will pull for a kiss.
Relevant: he was constantly smoking,
and I adored watching him inhale
each slow drag, the sudden surge of orange
at the tip, the cigarette firm in his lips.
I was young and would have given anything
to be on the receiving end of that
kind of need. Relevant: I was young,
though not much younger than now,
when he used to read me Derrida:
his claiming the distinction between desire
and need no longer satisfies—when
we can smear them conceptually to reach
their root: hunger. "Come," he says
"is an imperative." A demand. We come
with our begging bowls, held high
to heaven: Grant us, finally, this truth...
Relevant: we circle under denial, ashes
raining down, or—try it this way:—
a thumb digs deep in an orange rind
that stubbornly hides its fruit—

Copyright © 2005 Ariane Bolduc All rights reserved
from The Laurel Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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