8.01 / January 2013

In Lieu of Questions

listen to this poem

Among the lessons you ask, this one
about the tongue-what I hunger for

is not the only territory. The body exists,
surrounded on all sides by currents

of nothing, this suspension we call late.
Over the flame, you break chocolate

from the bar. No words, just the sound
of the gas, my hands separating oranges

into their interior forms. It’s January,
it’s February, it’s a place gotten to slowly,

and between our two houses, this is
all we have tonight. Sometimes in California

whole things drop, go rolling for lower
ground, their sheer numbers a kind

of poverty. I want you to let me strip you
of name and skin like this, until want

and need cannot be separated.

Rae Gouirand's first collection of poetry, Open Winter, was selected by Elaine Equi for the 2011 Bellday Prize. A lecturer in the Department of English at UC-Davis, and Nonfiction Editor for California Northern Magazine, she is currently at work on a second book of poems and a collection of linked essays.
8.01 / January 2013