Chorus

by SUMITA CHAKRABORTY

 

 

It takes work for a woman to welcome a fist
With her body. Fists are larger than the spaces 

They make for themselves in a chest, or the holes
Into which we welcome them with longing.

Asking whether I wish for one now because I knew
Them well as a child is like asking if a volcano

Belches lava because, when a small mountain
Cloistered within seawaters, its first brush

With burning was unbidden. The question
Requires a certain old knowledge of safety to ask. 

What does it mean that the first time you saw a cock
It was raised in menace from a boil of shared blood
,

The question says. Tell me the origin story of pain,
And tell me what happens to pain as it ages,

And tell me what the ocean-bottom dirt you grew
From tastes like
. Volcanoes understand differences
 
In kinds and in chords. The origin story of pain
Is abjection, foisted. Not a single stream of lava 

Is like one that has come before or will come since.
All my lips make treacherous lights float in midair.