Meditation on Need

Winner of the Writer’s Foundry Prize in Poetry

by Despy Boutris

Any I want you makes me want to run
& hide. I never know what to do
when my body turns feral. If lust
is a kingdom, how kingly I become—
large as the mustard blooms smearing
the hillside, all that yellow impossible
to break through. All wild
& inhuman, no girlheart in me:
only screeching cicada, dip-wicked frog.
& all I desire is everything: to become
ocean, wetlands, the cube of sugar
dissolving on your tongue.
I’m all salt & sweat, the scent
of flowernectar, you say, what bees guzzle
down with greed, gorge until drunken.
How similar the words greed & need,
which is want without the romance,
what happens when you exhale my name
all breath. Strange how, on nights
I let you hold me, I’m back
in my boyhood again, swallowed up
by lakewater, touched wholebody,
surrounded by the scent
of weeds. With you I’m all animal,
all hunger & hankering, all bare-pawed
in the forest, running toward my need.
You say I want you, touch me,
& my hands say greed, greed, greed.

Despy Boutris’s writing has been published in Copper Nickel, Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, AGNI, American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. Currently, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of The West Review.

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