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Poetry by Lily Herman

Takeaway

When the man drops my dinner off,
He says, Ta, love, and I think,
I’ve been waiting my entire life
to understand something about myself
as good and as simple
as what he clocked
the moment I answered the door.
He has no questions about who I am
or what I might want, there being
only so many things in this life
to want, and me being a woman,
which cuts those things precisely
in half, and it’s not sexist
so much as it is
getting on with things,
a world where we can take
some things for granted
is an act of survival,
using the shorthand you’re dealt
to think, here’s your dinner,
there’s your life,

but probably he’s not
thinking any of this at all,
about me or my quest
to understand why a stranger
who calls me love brings me more joy
than I can speak, because it means
there is some collapsible artifice
between all of us just
holding
the love apart,
if we can flood it, we’ll be fine,

No, more than likely
he’s thinking about the girl
waiting (blessings betide us)
in his passenger seat,
her long hair
licking her seat and his,
my food when I open it
tastes like the pot they smoked
in his car while she rode around
with him, choosing to be anywhere
he goes, dropping curries off,
fine, so long as he’s there,
I can picture them idling
around the corner, his hand
on her leg, and the air warmer
than I hear it’s been for years:
She’s holding the joint
while he lights it, and then they take
a deep breath together
and she says, Let’s not go
just yet, oh my love, not now
when I’ve found you, please,
let’s circle slow

Lily Herman

IG: @lilyjenherman

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