by Robin Gow
I’m burying my voice in a collapsing star
because that’s how I want to talk right now.
I open my mouth and I feel the roof caving in.
I want an ocean for all this surface but
the heat of my body rejects water.
In the mirror I take one of my thousand fingers
and trace all the places I would make
bodies of water. A lake at the center of my chest,
a pond on my forehead. An ocean on my back
so that when lovers hug me from behind
they fall in. I want to be fallen into
and full of deep sea creates, those angler fish
and giant squid. I want to be terrifying
and blue. I fill a white coffee mug with
water and pour it over my head. Damp hair.
I’m alive remember, just collapsing.
I don’t want this to be a metaphor. I’m real.
A real collapsing star and I regret not
having been a planet. There’s something
much nobler out there. A rock growing
green fur, praying atmosphere halo.
I press my index finger against my core
like a stove top but my fingers don’t burn.
There’s no ocean here, there’s not
and the deep is hiding fission and melting.
and the deep knows no animals.
Not a metaphor for collapsing, a collapsing.
Take me seriously, I’m a star, your only star
why so many if we only need one?
The other stars buzz like gnats in my hair.
I tell them to listen to me. I open my mouth trying to fit an ocean. So much salt. I end up just pouring from the salt shaker. Salt melting from heat. Teeth jumping down throat like divers. If you want an ocean you can’t just draw where it should have been.
Robin Gow is a trans poet and young adult author. They are the author of OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL DEGENERACY (Tolsun Books 2020) and the chapbook HONEYSUCKLE (Finishing Line Press 2019). Their first young adult novel, A MILLION QUIET REVOLUTIONS is slated for publication winter 2022 with FSG. Gow's poetry has recently been published in POETRY, New Delta Review, and Washington Square Review.