“After Joining OkCupid, Desire Becomes a Periscope on Distance” by Jessica Plante

Jessica Plante


I’d like to confess that dating four men at once
is kind of awesome, the way the heart knows how
to expand and break off into knowledgeable pieces
occurs quite naturally. And because one of the men 

happens to be a micro-economist who studies 
game theory, I’ve begun to consider the nature 
of scarcity, how I am like a commodity where desire 
is the only available currency; and since another 

is a translator I’ll ask, how do I say the heart is a vagrant 
in Polish, and he might reply, in the spirit of love
and conversion, that I must loiter long enough
in a foreign territory to understand the principles 

at play. The other two, a musician and a biologist,
have led me to expect that by the end of the month 
I’ll have found that the best way for the body to hold 
its own concert is by singeing all my organs simultaneously

through the fire of orgasm. However, if this seems 
like too much information, try disconnecting 
from your deepest sense of longing long enough to take
in the world at its pleasurable best. After all, our planet 

is something like a cruise ship with its midwest buffets 
of grain and its lit-up cities that bi-coastally drift on the plate 
of our hemisphere. You’ve seen those NASA satellite photos 
of earth from space, how we’re congealed 

in darkness like a terabyte of lightbulbs tossed
in the air. It can make you want to catch your breath, 
the beauty of the cosmos, or just some new stranger 
standing in front of you in his underpants.

from Rattle #53, Fall 2016

[download audio]


Jessica Plante: “I started writing poetry when I was fourteen. My first poem was rhymed, metered, written entirely in quatrains, and called ‘A Land Without Time.’ It’s subject was two lovers divided because only one of them grew old. I knew then I was a poet, though I have never figured out why. But perhaps it’s because of what I felt then, and now: that the intimate possibility of someone else reading and understanding my words fills me with awe, terror, and glee.”

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