What I want from you has little
to do with sex, though it, like wine
and bread, rests on the table between us:
the curse that escapes your craned
neck; the way you turn away in bed,
your tongue an animal; and all
the exchanges of power and light.
Nothing of the lies we tell with silence
or the creaking we make as bent pines.
I want the open air of quiet: assured,
azure, birdless—and knowledge
earned from attention.
I’m not your mother, mistress, concubine,
or slave. I want to dine with men
whose kindness hasn’t been beaten out, or
who’ve called it back like the One Lost Thing.
Whose humiliations beget the softening
of eyes. I want to be surprised.
All my life, I’ve studied you—a matter
of survival. I want not to know you
so well. Here at this table is tenderness,
broken so we might share it.