Beloved

—I had only ever heard of you.
Yours was a name I could not speak.

To speak your name was to break
a covenant with language, was

to admit to language’s vanity.
For years I wrestled with an angel

that was really a sack of potatoes
with costume wings. Even still, I lost.

You were elsewhere, washing a fish,
planting a patch of weeds in the center

of the strawberries. & I lived without
grace, telling women I could see them

as I gazed into my hands, neglecting
friends to whom I vowed to administer

the machines of my listening, breaking
the trust of my employers, lying when

asked if I felt what I said I had felt.
Beloved, how could I have known

you would be waiting for me anyway
with your salamanders & asteroids,

your jazz piano & panic attacks,
your bright chamomile & medicine

breath? What did I do to deserve you?
This nearly untenable tenderness,

the silence of your love like the trunk
of a Buick buried a mile under the earth.

Beloved, here’s how the story goes:
once I was given a body & I hated it;

I hated my body; I hid in my hate;
& then I left; & there you were—


Jeremy Radin is a poet, actor, and teacher. His poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Gulf Coast, The Cortland Review, The Journal, Vinyl, Passages North, wildness, and elsewhere. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Slow Dance with Sasquatch (Write Bloody Publishing, 2012) and Dear Sal (not a cult press, 2017). He lives in Los Angeles where he once sat next to Carly Rae Jepsen in a restaurant. Follow him @germyradin