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  • Roxanne Noor

Old Pains

I’m acting like a fool because

I want you to love me

You do, but you don’t

How unoriginal a story

How counterproductive in function

A defiant clock ticking backward


Waiting in this solitary lake

Pads of fingers wrinkle

I study the fading moon above

Feel an alienation of self below

How dexterous the imagination of a restless mind

A seeking body and desperate hands


If life matters and if I matter

Can you care in a way I understand?

Where I don’t need to probe it out of you

Shaking loose change from an old denim jacket


Happiness isn’t something to hunt for

It’s not in the scalloped sky or ribboned trees

It’s not a fresh bloodied kill

It’s not for the taking

It captures you


We had our ripened adventures

Clamoring Indian cities and starving cows

Bubbling hot springs in Thai mountains

Road trips and hammam on Turkish soil


Ejected from Saint Petersburg

You evaded the war

But kept it inside


At home you contract in the corner

Until you disappear

A speck of dust

Before you expand toward the light

Invisible but everywhere


You travel the road that leads away

Into another’s lacy thong

Into another’s open chest

Into another’s weary life

I’m not chosen


Forced to weather the chill alone

A Siberian winter in mid-July

It snows inside

Grief smothered in white


I am not an object of desire

I am desireful

Only love can make me this stupid

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