Dry Heat

by | Art by

Tonight, like all nights, men gather
in cafés, drinking heavy and bitter cups of tea,
smoking cigarettes, devouring sweets made
of dates that fell from trees, the mothers
of our otherwise deadly deserts

Beauty is not native
to this soil, only to him.

When my body sits in a room
The curtains must be closed
The percentage of fat on my chest,
the curve of my hips: abominations
that cannot rest in cafés alongside men.
Their bodies tighter, leaner. Skin on muscle
on bone, the only way of being without shame

Men stare like you are scenery without eyes
to stare back. You are the most loathsome
wholesome thing. To be lifted and stepped on
Inciting lust in cafés is a capital sin.

Though I could be naming
clouds and deserts –

I am here, instead, with him. He tells
me, the blue dress you wear is brutal
It breaks his bones to see me
So beautiful and young
With flesh and fat to fill his palms
I love his lust I love his love
I lust for him, too. But my flame
Exerts no smoke, no smell
A soft heat that burns no one.

Our room is small and outside of it
We fall into our bodies. Strictly made
For separate things, separate spaces
With him, I am the owner of my body
And I am without body. Still, most days
we walk the streets in bodies distinct
We become things entitled to different soils
His, fertile. Mine, yielding only stillborn things