Let It Be a Houseplant

In time, I’ve proven amendable to pet names and
the gibberish of a beating heart. And I’ve learned what
in the blue hell foie gras is. I’ve even handsomed up some,
fittingly and, finally, not so embarrassed for you to be seen
with the nakedness of my nerd. I’m still plenty self-conscious,
but to a smaller degree than before our universes collided –
two separate circles, then a Venn Diagram, then a sun disk
emitting golden light. Before inking our names on that lease,
I bet you never realized how diligent I’d be about putting
the toilet seat down. And no, I hadn’t thought much about
women pooping until you came along solving every mystery
I’d created in my head, but it makes sense; see, I grasp that
women are people too despite what men say with their
flippant vocabularies of hot air and muscle. Even my own
hands are a pair of clumsy sledgehammers sometimes,
but damn it, I’m gentle. You know this and many other
secrets kept poorly in the wrinkles of my forehead.
But you don’t know I pray for you when you’re not
looking and every morning it’s answered, that when
I catch a hint in the air of a flat iron running to the
ends of your hairs, it’s a happy day. I wear everything
you ever gave me. Purse my lips into the asking shape
of an open book for you to read in bed. Forgive you
with ease, like a foam-top mattress. I’m a terrible liar;
I’m like your mirror that way, so I don’t try. I let you
pick all your scabs and mine: admittedly, you’ve taught
me a little something-something about singing in tune,
made a kettle of me and stoked some flames. Such is
what is and will be, and let it be an evolution. Let it be a
houseplant, a tasteful decoration of our ordinary lives.

Cortney Lamar Charleston lives in Jersey City, NJ. An incoming Cave Canem fellow, he is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania’s performance poetry collective, The Excelano Project. His poetry has appeared in Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Eleven Eleven, Folio, The Normal School, Chiron Review, J Journal, Kweli Journal, Winter Tangerine Review, CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action and elsewhere. He has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.