the ending you don’t want to hear

At first there was too much feeling so she
cut out her heart and fed it to a crying lion
cub. She meaning you. Yes. But the lion cub
was really her new kitten. She didn’t have
enough milk. Is that all? No, there were
other things she never had enough of:
greens, window blinds, validation. She isn’t
ready for summer to begin.
She likes the way
the branches make fractal designs in shadow
on her front door. More than the sidewalk?
Yes, and she likes the sounds her shoes
make on pavement. She likes the empty
space surrounding her to be wholly without
meaning. She wants to be alone. That sounds
overly isolationist. Sounds like freedom. And
her hands?
Her hands keep turning into
birds and flying away from her. Her being
Yes. Do you love yourself? I don’t have to
answer that. It should matter. She has two
dozen different black shoulder bags, but
none of them are the right size. She is still
searching. She buys one every week, just in
case it is the one. It should matter. She has a
diamond stud in her nose but it doesn’t
matter. She wrote ten poems yesterday but
it doesn’t matter. This is how she stays alone.
Everything is red and newspapers are printed
on the soles of shoes, the backs of hands.
miss the point: bookcases are only
bookcases when they hold books. All of the
letters are lost and scrambled. Like the time
the pages flew from the car and got lost at the
ocean shore?
Yes. Pages flying floating until
they turned into birds. What’s with the birds?
Everyone nests, then everyone leaves.
There is truth in migration. If you make it.
What else? She cannot see her hands in the
dark. They disappear under the shelter of
the moon even when the moon is lifted in a
pirouette. She meaning you. And you.
Everyone leaves. Every relationship must
end, it is the nature of us. We are
impermanent. Even stones. What else would
stones be?
Immortal. Bounded. Discovered
on the backs of glaciers, in the hollow of
trees. Birds don’t need stones to nest. No, but
I do. Where are your hands now? Turned to
feathers, feathers, turned to down, stuffed
into pillows. Place your head here, carefully.

[After Richard Siken’s poem ‘Unfinished Duet’ from his book Crush. Also inspired by Poetry Thursday’s prompt to write a poem in dialogue.]

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

4 thoughts on “the ending you don’t want to hear”

  1. Clare says:

    This completely blew me away — it is incredible.

  2. gautami says:

    What a great first post for PT! Welcome. Do keep posting.

  3. This is beautifully written and you’ve used the dialogue so well.

  4. Jennifer says:

    That was lovely. More please ;-)

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