It would be causal, it would be casual
it would happen at a fair. People bustle.
Outside it is afternoon, inside it is night.
Night brings a shudder over my body.
(This is nothing against those who should
have looked out for me.) I am stolen and kept
in a room whose walls are white paper
doors. Do I have to spell out how I was
seized? A small girl watching the dancing
man with the same name as her brother.
Paper walls. Could I have leaned up against
them, broken through? How I was seized—
sitting in the middle of the room and not
moving. I remembered the dancing man,
how his face glowed an orange-red
lantern. Skin is fixative to light, and powder—
how does it compensate? I love him—
the dancing woman. If the doors could not
contain the shadows of the fair, would I lay
myself down to be taken? Rustle of small steps.
And he is a woman in how his hands move
like white blossoms. I take the branch
and shake it. It is said, like rain. But it is
the rough bark of her lips, the gold shimmer
of the pin he pulls from his hair that make me.
In a white room it would happen like this.
It would take me ______ years to say it.
Of The Desire to Say
The sound you made, it was a what-
aphant. What difference!
Putting it together the bed
was bigger than it had been and a laugh
had left me still intact with that old
trap I keep as my mouth.
But what difference, a whataphant a-
waking. In the room (a smoking
room) everyone was sleeping, but me
and the little girl who appeared
beside the bed. She came
to find and found what in the room I refused
to see. But the bed was bigger
than it had been, and the something sitting
on the chest of me would not let
go. Let me go. But she would not let up
her stare. I was afraid. You were
in the next bed over—had said a whataphant awaking
the same feeling—the desire to say
love, cheekbones, to say reddish-
brown. I want to be two girls
in a wind tunnel with you. I want to hold you
in a small space inside me. I raised
my arm (the only part of me that could) and dropped it
to the bed, the hinge of me releasing
my body to bolt.
I do not care to comment on the violence
in language. I want to make a thing
and hold it as if it were unbroken.
I would be as cradle.
I would be a catfish.
I am no longer that girl but there is one who visits me.
Temporary, but not unkind, she will take you with her.
There is no such thing as need
fulfilled. In the ground that girl is a flower.
In your hands, the future is surprising.
Bright bird! Silly angel!
That girl, I would not know without her dress,
I would not know without my body's frightened fence
when I see her. To say nothing of night.
It is not sleep that brings me to her: clasped breath,
pin bent vision. Tomorrow will be only a new day.
You would be without her unable to take me.
Or, Take me.
We could never be two.
Unornamented and flustered, I say nothing
is like this. I am mounting the words until you cry,
It is a place like any other.
about Janine Oshiro