City of Desire || Peter Leight

A series of spaces, each one empty in its own way, each lacking something the others don’t have in a different way, when we move around we lean forward as if we’re slanting or pointing, letting our breath go first like the steam from a flashlight, not even keeping our hands to ourselves.  Not thinking let somebody else do it:  when we open our mouths we’re breathing together, checking in with our feelings, how are you feeling are you feeling okay?  Holding out our hands until somebody’s pulling us further inside what we’re inside of, as in Josef Albers’ emotionally disarming squares in squares:  it’s enough to be beautiful as long as you’re beautiful enough.  When the signs tell us to yield which of our desires are they referring to?  Sometimes I think we’re only hungry when there isn’t anything to eat as if desire is a searchlight looking for something to shine on.  Or is desire a sensitive light that only shines when there is something to see?  If we start swelling, bulging in places like a dress form, it’s only because there’s something inside that needs to come out, or is about to—I mean we’re all repeat offenders, like a straw that’s ready to be sucked on, it doesn’t do any harm.  Our lips are softening and blending together, cracking like a mosaic:  of course, it’s better when you want what you need, better when you need everything you want, sometimes I think we’re only hungry when there’s something to eat as if we’re giving too much weight to our desires, and we don’t even know where the resistance is coming from: it takes all our strength just to give in to the weakness.

Peter Leight lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has previously published poems in Paris Review, AGNI, Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, New World, Tupelo Quarterly, and other magazines. 


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