What Pleasure, by Lane Fields
Sitting on the stone steps overlooking
the courtyard, the first poet I ever
loved asked me if I had been abused, too.
She said she saw it in my eyes. No one
in my twenty-one years had named the raw
gift of my writing before she did, so
I told her no. Janice squeezed my hand twice
before standing up & walking away.
The grove in the valley of the mountain
shouldered a soft breeze. Everything was warm
because it was summer. We drank boxed wine
on the patio & danced until two.
A poem has to be about something
so let it be about this: my father
did unspeakable things. I am grown now
but still wake with nausea burning my chest,
cold sweat that dapples my temples. I dream
the unbearable weight of his body,
feel it whenever I sit down to write
or hear the wind in the trees. What pleasure
will ever belong to me? The mountains,
those Carolina summers, this body—
Lane Fields is a queer, trans poet living in Boston and an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College. Their poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Yemassee, Interim, Moist, Palette Poetry, and others. You can follow them on Instagram at @lane.fields or Twitter at @ohwowitslane.