My Intimate

By GABEBA BADEROON

 

On the anniversary of 20 March 2003

I sense you close, a part of you,
your stiff shirt, your hand,
never the whole.

Language,
its shape and certain completeness,
that is you and I now, my Intimate.
A long and silent oneness
hangs like wire between us.

I turn my head toward your voice.
There is nothing else.

I make a new posture of the body,
hands stretched to the sides
like a Leonardo sketch, like the cross.
Again, we make our dance
of alternating simplicities, of what we are
and what we have become.

We have grown together
like a broken bone, Intimate, grow
n
bubbled and rough over what divides us.
You press on the small cracks of our taboos.

Each moment,
before its beginning and then its beginning,
the middle of it, its inside,
every flutter of its existence, I try
not to let escape me.

What news is there of today’s deaths, my Intimate?

There is an inside and an outside.
At midnight, to walk on the cold cement of the sidewalk
in this city was once a pleasure of mine,
the great intimacy of night folded about me
then billowing as I walked further
and further until I reached
the edge of its soft cloth.

I think of running down the passage outside this cell
to the door and then out, loping
over the grass like an animal at the start of a long journey.

In the mountains in the north I remember
snow, still, inward, serene,
and in the morning a Spring slick on the branches.
In sudden sunlight
a spiderweb of light travels through the ice,
slight and glinting thin,
that thin, about-to-quiver string of silk light
like me, my Intimate.

It is Spring.
Some sound of ending
lies in the future but now there is only silence, webbed
by the sun and ice taking their turns.
Oh, Intimate,
in the distance a crack in ice, softly immense,
opens on the day.

The end of the moment, and after the end.
This morning, I leave with the hawk rising
straight above the tree, the long whoop-whoop suck
and push against the emptiness under its wings.
Flight is hollow bone, nothingness
and the curve of air.

Remembering, I reach again for the same thing.
My hand bends in that direction.
Your fingers flex, you are remembering.
My reaching is your remembering.
You do not know it,
my Intimate, my Torturer,
though you are making me,
already I have made you.

 

 

Gabeba Baderoon is the author of the collections The Dream in the Next Body, The Museum of Ordinary Life, and A Hundred Silences.

Click here to purchase Issue 04

My Intimate

Related Posts

Image of objects under shards of broken glass.

Dey

STEPHANIE DINSAE
A young child, I was privy to hearing this word / in my household, around my uncle and his friends / reminiscent of his schoolboy youth. / A part of a pidgin I could never participate in / for fear that the broken English might / have too much of an essence...

hashem beck

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Wait

ZEINA HASHEM BECK
I take photos of the skin on my thigh, the side of my breast, / my arm, my calf, my belly, & send them to friends. See? / They reassure & recommend doctors. My mother suggests / baking soda mixed with oil or water, rosewater perhaps

An image of Castro Street in San Francisco

Castro Street

PHILLIP WATTS BROWN
As through a prism, the city shifts / to rainbow. We cross into technicolor, / the famous marquee lipstick red / against blue sky.