Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

from Dependence, the Joistrix / How you are made

by Emily Martin

Because they were not mine to know, the trees untouching themselves
We will remain. We can do everything
of friendship and all the other things.

They make you write it all down without future ado: The day that all the leaves come off the
trees fall off the trees are blown off the trees

……….……….……….……….……….……….……….[ and dropped into the bay ]

Could you, would you be the two boys for me?

……….[stacking salt crystals and
So, bring them in
……….[make him swallow
Make it so I beg you
Make it so that I beg you
Pretend you’re the two boys and I beg you
And I have to beg you
Pretend that I’m begging you
How do I get out of here
Which way do I go to get out of here

Leave the trees
Being taken
for this reason
And now was suddenly from the pines:

Bells at night. She exhales
smoke that turns into steam. A shot of fog seeping
from the edge of the forest, pans to the interstate.

That the perfected word is pulled up through the spine
and extracted from the marbled athlete’s mouth.
That picture of a hill from the year I was born.

That I had to leave the apartment to understand what had happened
there, daily and in segments, that this thing is shaped like
that thing, it is a feeling of crying of just this is what’s happening
and I don’t know what I will do. Now that the veins are finally rising
through the skin on the backs of my hands, should I be forced to look
upon you whole? That we would need a place to sleep,
that we could be so lucky.

To know what it was for in the end and all at once, to do the picture
and then sell it. How can we possibly understand what has happened to us. I sent myself
to the wide-open apartment, not to brand but to edge in the bath and unflatten
your life and ceremonies of contouring touch and untouch, come unlaminated
come to write it all down and then give it away, any last words surrendered
to gently swinging panes, to see the surface and underside at once,
the muted side of a leaf. For an aerial view who would flee their lives.

……….
and I the crescent earth impress
a knee that doesn’t move away

……….
If they need more time:
Courtyard light
Churning screen of the eveningworld
Quiet it candlelight
Small tables or sentences, disappearance

……….
lamb wandering around in the office tower

……….
The mage spread the night sky shining through its world-scooped indent, then nudged a small
envelope toward me this morning. It was a message about a mistake I’d been making, judging
and fantastically contorting another person in an attempt to see myself the way I want to be seen,
the way I think my dad used to see me as a child if I’m being honest, and the message alerted me
to the fact that my contortions were wrong, they had nothing to do with her. I have my room
here, winter on the other side of the window, this week when the birds are always looping back
around, the anniversary of the mage’s death.

Copyright © Emily Martin 2022. Originally published on Queer Poem-a-Day.

Emily Martin is a writer and teacher from Brooklyn. Her most recent work is in Tagvverk and Blazing Stadium, and the rest of her work is here: myemilymartin.com

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission