That One Time I Stayed Up All Night Making Excuses to Talk to Danger

Tarfia Faizullah


Maybe it was my old friend Fascination
who first let me know that Danger
was right across the hall, or maybe
it was the unrealized absence of pollen, or,
was it the nearness, Danger, of your hair’s
blatant softness, just toweled.
Or, I wanted to stop thinking — and, I wanted to ask,
Do you think God understands
                                                   attraction? Surely, right?
Or, I wanted you to notice my anger,
which you might not characterize as dangerous, per se,
but rather, fickle, a synonym
for “mercurial.” Maybe that’s typical. Yup,
there is a liquid sharpness in me I wouldn’t unlid
except    …    damn, Danger,
             there’s this certain way you draw out epiphany    …
You’re messy, Danger,
baby, meaning untidy, confusing, monumental,
great in size, and also, of or serving
as a monument, which leads me to reconsider
the dimensions of sandwiches, as well as apartheid,
the aphid, and the scarab beetle.
                                                   Danger, can you feel
me tremble?
But I am saying nothing, dear
                                                   Danger, you don’t already
know — you’re used to being pursued
with rage, unwanted advice, riddles. That’s not me,
respectfully — Joy is always waiting
to cyclone you with nothing more
than a matchbook,
a long gaze, a warm bowl.



Republished from Poetry Foundation with the permission of the poet.