after Ocean Vuong

do you ever notice how loud you breathe?
like there is a chorus of warnings underneath everything you say?

do you ever feel sad with a sadness that is older than you?
do you ever jump when a rolling chair slams into a wall?

do you ever wanna do a seance? so you can be like
…………..“excuse me, you cannot leave these peach pits
…………..all over my platelets for me to deal with”

but actually you’re alive with hands that can dig into dirt
to plant trees, so get out of bed.

i wrote on a paper You Are Alone
and then i read it out loud because i needed to hear it

i need to get used to this
the egg is part of my face now

psoriasis is just my body making confetti, i’m such a fun cool girl

sometimes i wanna be like ‘i cant come
to the phone now, i’m distracted by the handsomeness of dale cooper’
but i don’t want anyone to think it’s a masturbation joke
i enjoy counting his eyelashes

the world needs to drink a glass of water
without spiking it

i wish i could go into ambiguous romantic interactions with a sign around my neck that says

i went to the bar and the men are weird and bad when they drink

like how are you gonna try to kiss me without first holding my hand

without first asking for my number without first waiting seven years

for me to figure out My Whole Deal With Existing Inside of a Body

rebeccalynn says that women of color always feel out of orbit
& maybe that’s why we desire a love knocked off its axis

everyone i’ve ever loved has also felt like an alien inside their body
i love many people who love trees. fruits don’t stop growing
from the trees we write about. is the heart a fruit or is it a pit?

church is picking plums alone on 5th ave in bklyn as bells ring
as the morning sun patterns my face as i’m thinking of my family,
my friends, how they make me believe in the atmosphere as a network
of ears connected by red strings across oceans

i asked hannah about poetry and they said i’m gonna throw your wound in the river

we laughed and laughed and laughed

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JESS RIZKALLAH is a Lebanese-American writer and illustrator. She is an NYU MFA graduate, a Kundiman fellow, and founding editor at pizza pi press. Her full-length collection THE MAGIC MY BODY BECOMES was a finalist for The Believer Poetry Award and won the 2017 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize as awarded by the Radius of Arab-American Writers and University of Arkansas Press.