By Katie Condon
Ten hours ago, Adam Liddy liked my profile picture
alone in his Asheville apartment. My brown eyes coaxed him back
seven months to Bread Loaf where I pulled him by his shirtsleeve
onto the dance floor in the barn; poured him a shot of bourbon; shared
a blanket on the porch; asked him to close the flue of the woodstove
at the party because it was getting too hot. He must’ve remembered my
laughter as I climbed onto the puny wooden raft at midnight to listen to him
describe what being suddenly lusted after by many women feels like
& how he would never cheat on his girlfriend. Never, he said.
Nine hours ago, from his solitude in Asheville, Adam Liddy
wrote me an email to catch me up on his life: his non-existent & therefore
perfect teaching load, his Camargo Fellowship, & his recent breakup.
What he didn’t write but wanted to was that he’d convinced himself
desire isn’t tangible unless you act on it—that when we climbed into the trailer
storing the left-handed desks, that when I sat down in one & looked up at him,
just before a security guard shined his flashlight onto my shadowed face,
desire wasn’t thrashing around like a snake under his boot.
In the trailer seven months ago, what I didn’t say but could’ve was, Adam,
I’d never cheat on my boyfriend, either—& I wouldn’t.
But there’s nothing wrong with getting off on the shape tension takes in a
with lifting your eyes up over the wall you’ve built & named Life
to see how you might be different.
Adam, there’s nothing wrong with desiring what you know you can’t have—
nothing wrong with playing with potential
like a housecat plays with a bird it won’t mean to kill.
Katie Condon has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Inprint. Her recent poems appear in or are forthcoming from Indiana Review, H_NGM_N, and other journals, as well as the anthology Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe Books, 2015). Katie is a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee, and received her MFA from the University of Houston.
Originally published in Issue 19.