EVEN THOUGH I KNOW NOTHING IS CERTAIN
I dream I’m searching for certainty. And my girlfriend leaves me alone in an enormous parking garage where men are fixing cars. I climb endless levels of cement to find her. I’m naked and then in a hotel hallway that is also endless with nothing to cover me but a tiny wet, white washcloth. I turn corners and wander corridors and end up in stuck elevators where no one is worried. I believe that she is one step ahead just waiting to pick me up. Then we’re in a mall, holding hands together, old women now, unsure of all the styles and people and noise. A young lesbian couple follows us and teases but also flirts. One of us is lured away. Then, as if on replay, the one who chose to stay becomes the one who strays. What I mean is I dream about that old and tired apple—the red red shine of infidelity. Of hunger. Then I am saying yes to a no-face no-gender body that wants me, and we thrust like it’s the only time I’ll ever stray. I feel my girlfriend watching, bodiless like atmosphere. Some mornings, I wake with the guilt and leftover throb of being wanted. I am sad so I reach for her, unsure if she’s there. I worry that she turned a corner and never said goodbye. It’s true that suffering is about impermanence. I want to stay put when everything is change. I dream of endless winding corridors and parking garages, lost among crowds of people who are not lost. I hide in elevators and hope they take me back.
Tara Shea Burke is from Virginia and lives with her partner in the East Mountains of New Mexico. She has an MFA from Old Dominion University, served as poetry editor for The Quotable and Barely South Review, and volunteers for and guest edits Sinister Wisdom, a Multicultural Lesbian Literature and Arts Journal. Her chapbook Let the Body Beg was published by ELJ Publications, and poems can be found in The Fourth River, Adrienne (Sibling Rivalry Press), Yellow Chair Review, Calyx, and forthcoming from Tinderbox Poetry Journal. www.tarasheaburke.com