DESIRE AND THE SOCIAL

by CASSIE DONISH


Desire is personal, it is
private, woven into the home hours,
the hours of the body, waking
hours, sleeping hours, time
in the shower, getting dressed,
thinking of him, this lack
of sleep is personal, it is
private. Desire is singular, 
individual, physical, it is
psychological, at the restaurant
his hair was in his eyes
and I wanted to push it aside.
Desire is social, it is the street,
the train, the business hours,
the ads that rush through our
bodies from the moment we can
see, beauty is in the eye of
society, lust is in the body
of society, the animal of me longs
for other animals of my kind,
the longing is shaped by phrasing,
by passages of books, by scenes
in films, the hair in the eyes,
a hand's subtle touch, desire’s
in the clothes, the way we've seen
actors remove each other's
on camera, the man enters the library
and in a moment of revelation,
the woman realizes she loves
him back, the moment so
powerful that suddenly they're against
a wall of books, he's pushing her,
lifting her slightly, her foot leaves
her sandal, "I love you," 
she whispers, her dress of green
silk drawn up around her waist.
I don't know why I feel the need
to apologize for wanting him
to push me down and press
his lips to my skin, this animal
is private, this circumstance
is society, a desire
heightened by context,
by the sound of voices,
which are social, and public,
there is no way to leave
the public sphere, no way
to leave the privacy
of the body, he is behind
the names of streets, names
of countries, names of trees, family
names, layers of appropriate
clothing, city air and city signs, traffic
and lights, the news, and some of history
is between us. Yet this desire
emerges not from him
but from inside me, inside this body, I
should stop using his name
and call it by my own.