By Any Other Name

It’s true that I wanted to give the world something beautiful.
The way it had given things to me. A trout on a hook.
The stacked coins of a tambourine on my thigh.
My sexual hunger like a red scarf.
You would not guess this from the way my body moved.
I feared everything. My life for their safety.
Twisting the sheets. An electric fan swiveling its flat white head.
The landed shark. Wanting my body to be eaten.
Fearing a mouth on my skin. My body spending itself.
In this way I often lost track of my arms,
just as moths will sometimes rest, wings closed.
Its belly a flat song. Once I felt my life enter my body, a swollen
lungless light. Each finger finding its home. I was
a spinning coin. When my body became
a wild onion field, insects took their time with me.
In that we shared a particular patience. I am
silver in my want, ridged in lack, my brown
& fragrance. Already the birch trees turn
to face me, leaf hoards tissued w/ winged
seed. Like me, these trees will rot
from the inside out, paper husks a torn bed,
a falling calendar of empty & speed. This body knows I am
patient like an onion. My life for my safety.
When I said yes. When I said no.

Emily Vizzo is a writer, editor and educator whose work has appeared in FIELD, Blackbird, jubilat, North American Review, The Los Angeles Times, Next American City, and other publications. Her essay, "A Personal History of Dirt," was honored as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2013, and she was selected for inclusion within Best New Poets 2015. Her chapbook, GIANTESS, is forthcoming in 2018 from YesYes Books.