Feature image by Kazuo Shiraga. Fire Ritual, 1974. © Kazuo Shiraga.


Your love is a wet risk

highway. Across the Midwest, you’re unfolding
your body: a road hungry
under a frontier-ish horizon. You still
prefer the sober lovers
with their foreign motors, but hate
the smell of oil.You know
how I’d let you
dance beneath my metal—
I’d drive all over you,

but this hurts me too

much: the swell and curl of your
nostrils and hate—you hate
the smell of oil. Well, any love is a wet risk,
a gamble ending in the spin out.
Or slip. The heart I hide behind the hood:
always speeding hot, too
easily interstated.
Lying down in front of me, you say,
Use my miles of hard concrete to
run away—I’m bigger than

your Middle East,
than your deeper South—well,
I know when
I hear an engine idling.You say,Now,

won’t you ride my good thousand
country miles—for you—exploding so
orange bright with interstate lights—me under
your moving body: I could make you
a vehicle so full of light—oh, beneath,
feel this longing—exploding so—

no, I prefer the pavement rising under me
unlit, so lonely—
as if a province explored first—by my own dark
hands and the milky way—baby, I will always wear

your hate: the smell of oil.

Aliah Lavonne Tigh

Aliah Lavonne Tigh has authored a poetry collection, A Body Fully, and in 2012, a study examining the economic backdrop of revolution. She holds poetry and philosophy degrees from the University of Houston and began her MFA at the University of Indiana, where she was awarded the Neal-Marshall Fellowship in Creative Writing. Her poems have been featured in Matter Monthly, Glass Mountain, and others, and most recently, her poetry has been nominated for inclusion in the upcoming 2015 Best of the Net Anthology. Tigh is an artist-in-residence with Houston’s Writers in the Schools.