By Madeleine Cravens
I worry what it says about my character,
that I cannot picture the reality of sickness,
I just wake and read Whitman
and watch the sun on the brick
of the next-door apartment.
I have three cans of chickpeas,
half a bottle of wine. You have
a stronger sense of the anthropocene.
You buy soup, talk with your father.
You know microbes are alive
as they move across the grid.
And in France each small town
has a street named for Pasteur,
who made men dig drains,
convinced them to stop spitting.
I wash my hands with hot water.
I don’t want to be clean. What does it say
that I am fully on my knees to this,
that I admit such weakness willingly,
that should you want company
after any of your transatlantic flights
I would take a cab immediately
to your red and burning door.
Madeleine Cravens lives in Brooklyn. In Fall 2020 she will be the Max Ritvo Poetry Fellow at Columbia University. She received her BA from Oberlin College. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Best of the Net, the Adroit Journal, FOLIO, and Frontier.
Featured Art: Bats by Jason Douglas and Wendy Minor