Cathy Linh Che, I still cannot dress attractively without feeling that I am endangering myself

Is the root disturbance

the man at twelve,

the unlocked doors?

 

Is the root cause

his teeth scraping

against your bottom lip?

 

Which is to say, is his tongue

the root cause of why

you don’t like your oysters raw?

 

Does your fastidiousness

point back

like an arrow?

 

Do you remember

the airless room,

a pillow, a bear,

 

a beast? A snap, a zipper, was he Zeus?

What thundered in the room?

Were you still as a tree?

 

What answers can be found?

Drink, chastity,

perseverance, solitude?

 

The opening of a maw

that is cavernous,

unknowable—?

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