When Nothing Else Will Do

I don’t want to pluck my burr from your flesh
nor do I want to be kind Or if I am to be kind

I want to be a kind of chameleon,
                                         night-blue florescent

I want to kill that gnat on the wall
but I don’t want to Hoover under
    our once-bed, site of our rub-a-dub

I don’t want to be a full set
of some starlet’s perfect teeth &
despite having nothing to boost, I want

to walk around wearing only my bustier
    I don’t want to flower unless
I narcissus (and yes,

I will honor—& always—
    my fey black body, our first
delights, and our mournings)

I want to tell your best mother everything:
    that I don’t want you to ever forget
my length of legs, both of my hands just there

I think I want to know what you want
    but, perhaps, I shouldn’t look in that mirror

    (& even because is a kind of want) so

just tell me—who have you been reading:
    Kafka Morrison manga for animé?

All I want is for my hair to a n e m o n e—
    & for the not-wanting to go for broke

while I drink honey bourbon and listen
    again then over again— Not A Day Goes By

Copyright © 2022 by Lynne Thompson. Originally published in Massachusetts Review, 2021. Used with the permission of the poet.