p
o
e
m
s

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.

   Elsewhere

 

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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