Polycystic Study of Intimacy

But where do the breasts go first is my question.
I understand their fantasies of fleeing south. 

The winters are loud and long and white 
and by March, well. I wonder why I’m still 

in it too. Now the round pits thumb up 
beneath the skin, tender and hot to the touch, 

crushed by my new weight. This island I’ve 
had to make of myself brought a bevy, 

angered by easy pleasures: sugar, soy sauce, 
potatoes, ice cream. My love’s language 

is to make a meal, ask what I can take in, 
ask what maladies to avoid. As for my house:

touch is far and few between. Desire wanes 
between compresses of cloves cinnamon turmeric 

and honey.  But in the mornings, a gulf between us, 
my hands are kissed. The blinds drawn to keep

the sun from disturbing my sleep while we wait 
patiently for my body’s quiet prayer of thanks.


Copyright © 2020 by Aricka Foreman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 20, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I’m unable to articulate how we’ve been failed, some of us more than others: the people globally murdered by militarized police, the horrid deaths of COVID and my gnawing worry about my family in Detroit, where two of my parents barely survived their diagnosis. To see America’s refusal to  admit citizens are only citizens when elections count, and to see this brutally thrust upon us, so thoughtlessly… thoughtfully, lays havoc on the intimacy I struggle to salvage with my lover, my village. I haven’t hugged my mother in almost a year. This world makes so little sense to me; we don’t have to live like this, but we should lend ourselves to accounts of tenderness that make us grounded in care, for one another, and too, some sweetness for ourselves, even if it’s just say: I am. I am here.”
Aricka Foreman