• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 07

No First Love

No next to which this builds, no twist.
No thereafter in the here and now.
No outgrowing this. No embarrassment
at what endeared you to your mother.
And later, no shame
for being ashamed. No timelessness
as cultivated trait. Nothing hard won. No daylight
opening to make a then from now. No place
for godless wonder. No commemoration
for your prize collection: scarab shell, insect wing, a fail-safe
hiding place. No first love to change these things
to metaphors. No tremble that isn't animal, that doesn't
fit the palm. No heart that isn't heart, no nothing that can't be
dissected in the grass. No jurisdiction beyond a garden.
No weapon that isn't wooden. No command.
No conquest of the father, and no fathering. No dawning
body, no issuing like a smoke plume from yourself.
No fickle trying on of masks. No first love
to pull from underneath the nail your whole
life. No echoes later. No leaving this as origin story.
No choice of what to leave behind.
No squirming under the painter's eye,
no outrunning the setting down.
No answering back. No ha-ha. No cloth
pulled from beneath a meal that doesn't leave
each thing smashed across the floor while guests
scramble under tables
for the disappearing foot. No finding you
in cupboards, caves, and forests –


No First Love

(it's as if
you were always where you
first were, covers drawn over your head
in the close dark)

No punishing and no escaping punishment.
No forgiveness you'll ever need,
no disarming smile to earn it.