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O Spirit

It takes work for a woman to welcome a fist

With her body. Fists are larger than the spaces

They make for themselves in a chest, or the holes

Into which we welcome them with longing.

Asking whether I wish for one now because I knew

Them well as a child is like asking if a volcano

Expels lava because, when a small mountain

Cloistered within seawaters, its first experience

Of heat was unbidden. The question

Requires a certain old knowledge of safety to ask.

What does it mean that the first time you saw a cock

It was raised in menace from a boil of shared blood,

The question says. Tell me the origin story of pain,

And tell me what happens to pain as it ages,

And tell me how the ocean-bottom dirt you grew

From tastes. Volcanoes understand differences

In kinds and in chords. The origin story of pain

Is abjection, foisted. Not a single stream of lava

Is like one that has come before or will come since.

All my lips make treacherous lights float in midair.

from ArrowFind more by Sumita Chakraborty at the library

Copyright © 2020 Sumita Chakraborty
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Poems Sumita Chakraborty

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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