Poem of the Week

There is An Intimacy

Melissa Lozada-Oliva

when the q-tip touches my almost-brain,
about to reach the moment I peed my pants
at my cousin’s birthday party or kissed a boy who isn’t alive anymore.
All the time I wonder
what he would think about this:
the sound of forks clacking together as a waiter takes
orders behind a mask & the sun sets on this dying empire.
Do you like it that I say stuff like dying empire?
Anyway I spent money on something called rib cage jeans today.
Anyway he had texted me a question in 2016 about the best way to be in love
with your own art & I didn’t text back. Anyway he died.
I fucked a mutual friend from the funeral who wore a goofy silk robe
& lined his walls with Ultimate Frisbees. Everybody deserves to be 24.
I count down from 10 & I feel bad that I still believe there is poetry
waiting for me at the top of the Williamsburg Bridge
where I get breathless on my bike
watching the buildings blink & the J train barrel past me.
I wanna be like call me? Ha ha
after the q-tip pulls out from my nose & I slip up my little face mask.
But instead I’m like I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this,
my left eye ugly-weeping like the girls at the sleepover
watching A Walk to Remember when it’s revealed
that the dude & the dead girl’s dad kept in touch & I tried
my best to cry but couldn’t because I wasn’t a woman yet. I sneeze now & you dip
that memory into a little tube with red formula
& you, the nurse, you tell me
It’s not something we’re supposed to get used to & Oh,
I want to kiss your eyes!
I want to never have to see you again.

Melissa Lozada-Oliva is a poet & screenwriter. She is the author of Dreaming of You. Her work has appeared in Breakbeat Poets, Redivider, The Poetry Project, and more. She completed her MFA at NYU.
Originally published:
May 26, 2021

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