Eva Wright

Altar Prayer

I used to dream of being wanted,

Being powerful,

Being sexy,

Being the kind of thing they couldn’t take their eyes off of.

If that sounds strange then you’ve never heard a child pray for love

or maybe never in a language with no word

for “love.”

Now…

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Philly. You didn’t pull any punches.

Rocky’s city, The Roots’ city. The birthplace of graffiti.

Bird Gang. “Jeet yet,” cheesesteaks, water ice. Jawn. Outta pocket. South Philly soccer in Spanish and West Philly cherry blossoms in summer. Cristina Martinez’s barbacoa.

The hipsters took Fishtown but further north, the carne asadas in the park…

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I meet a man and write 6 poems about rape.

They are good poems and his were good kisses.

Still,

it’s a strange way to tell someone you like them, so I don’t.

Trauma makes a strange math of you,

the only thing I know that takes and leaves you…

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There’s always going to be a reason, won’t there?

A good, bloody, wound of a reason:

The year your boss grabbed you when you were alone

The years you had just escaped from home

The boyfriend, the family, the different words for “life”

That leaden weight that pins you to bed for months.

They’re all good reasons, yes

good eulogies.

Good truths to patch together all those bad, bad years,

and much neater than saying:

“I’m a ghost haunting my own life.”

So what happens

the day you wake up to the good not being good enough?

-This I promise. Stay alive long enough. And you will tire of what you know. And start wondering about all you don’t.

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I used to write all my poems about my ex boyfriend;

since I’ve been safe his name just blew away from my life like dead leaves.

though I am still digging up rot from beneath where he lived

Some pain is funny like that,

It can hurt like the wound til it falls away like the bandaid.

-11/17/19

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