Self-Portrait in the Bed of a Stranger
The questions of bodies have
answers in a language I cannot
read or speak. Bathroom scales remind me
that weight is just how much I lean into the
earth: in another atmosphere
this would be a slimmer heart.
These wrists, I come back to these wrists,
ridges of unfragile bone where hands and
arms make covenants, where fingers
agree to thankless work, where pulse
blooms like oleander.
Dinner is basil leaves
he potted on the porch,
sweet corn for 50 cents an ear,
raw or blushed with butter
in a rustflowered pan,
and eggplants too, winecolored, palehearted,
and there is never not beer. Our fingers tangle
over the trope
of handrolled cigarettes—we unhook
the phone, I smell like his bed: tomatoes
and soap, guiltless cotton,
warm things growing.
Nothing is stolen.
We manage Eden out of dandelions and water,
stoned on the eighth I brought back from Ohio,
bodies full of unsurprises—
is the love I almost had
Sonnet for Almost
There was the one who gave up his bed for a night
so I would not have to sleep drunk on the floor. There
was the one who wore clothes that made me feel like
I was looking at him naked: threadbare white undershirt,
selfmade shorts. There was the one whose green baseball
cap felt familiar as handwriting, who never saw enough
of me to understand. There was the one whose earnestness
I could not stomach, who I was mean to. There was the one
I kissed and laughed about it with the next morning.
There was the one I first slept next to, who made me realize
what I deserved. There was the blond one from California, who
loved someone else. Here are the almosts, some more almost
than others, but all on the same tender list. Here are the
ones who did not love me, but taught me things instead.
Annie Diamond is a poet and academic from Connecticut. She graduated from Barnard College in 2015 and plans to begin an MFA program in 2016. Previously her poems have been published in Apt, The Columbia Review, The Lyric, and Cargoes, and in the spring of 2015 she was named the winner of the Cargoes National Undergraduate Poetry Competition. In the spring of 2016 she will be a resident at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. Her number-one life goal is to appear on Jeopardy!