Lit Issue 2018 | Poetry

Let There Be

I got so used to a closet without a light
That now the landlord’s fixed it
I have forgotten it is there, still digging around for my underwear in the dark.
Every time I remember and pull the chain
it’s like god creating the world again,
and it is good.

I’d like to say the time without it made me better,
sharpened my eyes, helped me tease
out the glint of my pants in the morning gray.
I’d like to say I’m the girl who doesn’t need:
How growing up, going to bed after everyone else,
I memorized my way upstairs against the walls
without a flashlight. Refusing to opt for the bus in the rain,
pushing my own way home against the wind.
But my skirts are all over the floor,
pajamas mixed with the dancing shirts,
jewelry flopped all over the dresser.
I texted him a reminder: come fix it.

As he re-affixed the chain,
my landlord told me a story about how there were once giant boilers
radiating heat to entire old buildings
and they worked so well the company went out of business.
The most beautiful women say:
everyone hates us, you don’t want this.
I say doesn’t it seem like something is wrong with that kind of economic system.
He does not answer. He says again: can you believe that, they went out of business
as I hand him slices of tape.
There is a cautionary tale here,
something for the future children,
but I’d take a day as the best boiler,
never in need of repair, whole and round against Chicago winter.
Let me be so beautiful that other women want to murder me on the street;
let my mechanisms hum along till there’s no point in poetry; then we’ll see.

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