from the cards, I draw the emperor
it’s hard to pick one man & give him the title—
not that the men I know are interchangeable,
but I don’t want any of them to rule me.
don’t want any of them to claim any thing I see as mine.
of course it isn’t always as simple as that.
can I call my whole body mine
& do I want to even if I can?
but let’s not make this about want again,
not when it’s really about control.
the truth is, I struggle with affection.
I learned it all wrong.
as a teenager, I heard that story about Sylvia Plath—
the one where she meets Ted Hughes at a party
& bites his face while they’re dancing—
& I thought the quickness of it
(the red bloom) was romance.
plus I dissociate whenever I get the chance.
how often have men watched me
watching my fingerjoints
(how they move like unfamiliar insects)
& interpreted it as desire?
a week ago, I slipped into sleep paralysis again.
it’s the most ordinary terror: someone I love
next to me in bed & my mouth open
but not making the sounds I want.