on registering good feeling
the juggling has already begun I am spinning orbs in the dark my palms soft for the catch so as to soothe the vertigo in my stomach with each whipping wrist my therapist tells me that I exhaust myself holding myself accountable for these airborne objects this is no way to fall asleep I remember this in bed & tuck the comrades against my side as I curl my body around the litter I can’t remember when rest became a phenomenon
I’d forgotten what kind of company Delight is bulldozing shrill no one can get a word in all day Delight entertains in a room of mirrors no matter who else is in the room I try to reason with it told it hey the way you take up space the rest of us are finding it very hard to breathe Delight had its hands all over my face while I was talking its hands on my face propping up my jaw a spindle centering a turntable my voice cracking through the hollow of a victrola
my nose bridge is tender my scalp follicles are tender my nail beds are tender my freckles are tender the mole on my right hand is tender today my ovaries are tender the web of my toes is tender my pores are tender the lining of my stomach is tender my brain cover malformed and folded over itself is tender my mustache is the most tender my blurry tattoos are tender my future tattoos are tender my diaphragm is tender my nightmares are tender the scar behind my right knee that too is tender my broken vision is tender the part of my tongue that registers sour is tender my uvula unreliable is tender my breath is tender yes I was a smoker before these are the scars & they are tender the memories of my dead friends are tender this section of the project is tender the limbs I grow are tender like pea shoots curling over my tender stomach
Curiosity has almost killed me before but this is a real picture of me these days belly pressed on a sheetless mattress its quilted top is jammed with crumbs in the valleys my body suspends over this landscape right cheek sticky with salt and saliva Curiosity my Tinkerbell sparkling & elusive visits in the lull before warning winds of a storm my fingers hanging off the side of the bed my hand a bell & Curiosity the page that urges it to toll
by the time I saw Joy again, I did not know what to feed it I served it some dark pu’erh a tray of glistening siu mai to soothe the throat I said & Joy thanked me with a mouth full of spiced air cheeks bloated with a belch that flew up to the stars teeth like a fortress a face that had already lost to the sky Joy still hangs there in the heavens leftover tea and dumplings are my only dinner companions & they’ve grown cloudy with cold and dust I will eat them anyway but I am waiting to see if Joy wants anymore I can’t help but wonder if Joy knows that the tea is good for another steeping
t. tran le is a poet living in Brooklyn, New York with their partner & three cats.