Camille Rankine

The Free World

I bind my old     grievances    
     to a helium balloon.      A long memory,    

I have been warned,
    is a curse.     Everywhere I go,      someone

has something      they must say      about you.
    Nobody knows     who we are.     Wouldn't you say,

nobody     agonizes like we do.    

is a promise     and a threat.
    I have been proscribed

compassion     of the wrong sort, and so
    I am alone.      I am

invisible within you.      Seeking companionship    
     I spend     my afternoons      before the windows

of pet shops and      strangers, trying
    to decide.      After all, I was told

I could have everything.
    I thought      this was meant to be

a romance:      I was delivered here
    in order to love you.

I was delivered here
    and ordered

to love you. If      we could be friends.
    I wore this new      dress for you. 

* * *

Poem originally appeared in The Baffler, issue #21. Reprinted with the permission of the author. All Rights Reserved.




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