I bind my old     grievances

   to a helium balloon.     A long memory,


I have been warned,

   is a curse.     Everywhere I go,     someone


has something     they must say     about you.

   Nobody knows     who we are.     Wouldn’t you say,


nobody     agonizes like we do.



is a promise     and a threat.

   I have been proscribed


compassion     of the wrong sort, and so

   I am alone.     I am


invisible within you.     Seeking companionship

   I spend     my afternoons     before the windows


of pet shops and     strangers, trying

   to decide.     After all, I was told


I could have everything.

   I thought     this was meant to be


a romance:     I was delivered here

   in order to love you.


I was delivered here

   and ordered


to love you. If     we could be friends.

   I wore this new     dress for you.

Camille Rankine is the author of Slow Dance with Trip Wire and assistant director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Manhattanville College.

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