I LIKE HER
But she sends too many texts.
When I see her it’s okay. Not great but it gets better
the more we sit together and if we have beers.
In the morning it’s no good.
She is a high-pitched fly strafing my temples.
I want to take some or all of her clothes off
and rub myself inside her. All day I lift
boards and tools and get tired.
She comes over with this bounce and says,
What should I do with my life? What is everything?
She wants talk. I like talk, some talk.
She wants to be my girlfriend. That is not
going to happen. It is a river I cannot cross.
I just want to rub myself inside her.
Inside the other ones. Inside them all.
They are birds because I have heard them
hit their wings against the window.
Breathing is all they are. Their chests heave,
their necks twist to see if there is danger.
I want to hold them on their backs in the palm
of my hand. Thumb and middle finger a necklace,
to pin them, so I can stroke their bellies
with my fingers as they lie still with their fears
and let me soothe their feathers
until their breathing evens
or their hearts stop.
—from Rattle #58, Winter 2017
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist
Nancy Kangas: “I write about what fascinates and confuses me. For a while, I circled and circled the feeling of being trapped. But I couldn’t untangle myself. Then, I tried letting someone else do the talking.” (web)