Listen:

Before you were born I binge-watched Hoarders.

The hours ample as the antelope

I imagine trampling me whenever

I forget to dream.           I watched women

wear nothing    but yellow as they bricked

themselves in Barbies                       little forts of soul

less bodies                     loneliness a shade of lip

balm               and a few prize-winning doilies

men who sang suppurating songs to rats

named Adolphus and Ben.              Son I watched and

did not love them.           Saw their weariness wick

and bubble        but did not budge.             I had not yet

layered that champagne glass     with the first chop

of your sunshine striated locks                or cut

a swath from the cushion           where your head sweat

once bloomed     did not understand that barriers

could be built          by braiding all your residue.

Love is forever a holding onto.

So how come they beseech me to    let go?

(no more umbilical       cord crust mummified

by the bed post                no more quilt of spit

up rags     stitched above the bureau) they don’t

want to believe love is              obscene. They want

the pink pattern of moderation.

Lips to ease off lips     breath to exist

as a poised pant    the perfect counter

part to the soft parlay            of a kiss.

But son I am sloppy      with bliss.     And I

refuse to contain any of it.              So

let the Florida morning file      across your cheeks

turn to me    and babble      not words        please

but the moonlight that seeps        through the spokes

of a bridge      your voice    the uncease     of lunar heat.

Emily Dickinson's hair. Photo: Amherst College.

Alexa Doran

Alexa Doran is a mother, a poet, and a student in FSU's PhD program. She has work forthcoming in The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, The McNeese Review, Mom Egg Review, and Tahoma Literary Review, among others. For a complete list of publications, interviews, and honors, visit her website.