Starry-eyed and ravenous, we wait for it
to serenade us like a bullet singing to a wound.
Is this what you meant by romance? Me, scouring the remains
of my life over a pool of ketchup, thick as the spunk of creation
while the city blooms smoke, waiting to be swallowed?
Out of everything, I’ll miss the oily contents of tin cans. Colored wrappers.
A fig eaten like a kiss in a stairwell. Your lips, potable wishes. The quiet
grace of Aphasia, the trans cashier who sells us fish sandwiches, her bright
wand of a smile and galactic tits orbiting the fryer. I want to make mind-
love, she says now to the darkness. All this glittering space
and no foreplay. Is this what you meant by loneliness?  That stiff
feeling in my hips like rust and rain, a surgery that allows
the patient to watch. We are waiting for it
with graffitied hearts, to discolor and gouge the walls
of the restroom where stains blossom into gesture, fingerprints, a deliciousness
hard-earned and wreaking, brought down from the heavens
of grease, and I’m glad for once to have a body with fingernails and genitalia,
a tongue like a squatter’s den that knows every violet edge of evening,
to unfold syllables from the book of silences, where we become
gentle, sipping endless refills, and saying thank you, even when it’s obvious.

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KENDRA DECOLO is the author of Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia Books, 2014), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She has performed at festivals, dives, universities and bookstores across the country, including the Newport Folk Festival, Mission Creek Festival, and Southern Festival of Books. Her poems have appeared in Southern Indiana Review, Calyx, The Collagist, Best Indie Lit of New England, Third Man Books and elsewhere. She is the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission, a work-study scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and residencies from the Millay Colony and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She is the founding poetry editor of Nashville Review and Book Review Editor at Muzzle Magazine. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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