When Someone Says I Love You ||| Poem-A-Day

the whole room fills up with iced tea, something gives:
the sun peels from your window, a sugared lemon,
whole, flaming, hanging there. You tell them they must:
puncture your chest with a straw to suck all the empty out,
but because they say love they think they can’t hurt you,
even to save your life, which is why you float up up up
knocking your curled toes and bedeviled breath hard
against the tea-stained ceiling, why you swim sentry
over the oxheart that flooded your bed, hollowed you out.
See it there: big and bobbing wax fruit, sweating with
the effort of its own improbable being, each burst
of wetness a cry to which you are further beholden,
a sweetness trained against your own best alchemy.
Witch, you can only watch this bloodletting from above,
can only amend the deed to your body: see it say it back,
see it like a little rabbit with a twist on its neck and wish
you could be that, being had, being held, but instead
you grow wooden and spin on your back. Propeller?
No, there is no getting away from this, and so: ceiling fan,
drowning their hushed joy, going schwa schwa schwa
in the bed’s sheath of late afternoon light.


Karyna McGlynn is the author of I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize from Sarabande Books, as well as Scorpionica (New Michigan Press) and The 9-Day Queen Gets Lost on Her Way to the Execution (forthcoming from Willow Springs Editions). Her poems have recently appeared in The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, West Branch, Seattle Review, Handsome, and The Academy of American Poet’s Poem-A-Day. Karyna received an MFA from the University of Michigan and a PhD from the University of Houston, where she also served as the Managing Editor of Gulf Coast. Karyna is the 2015-2016 Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

When Someone Says I Love You” by Karyna McGlynn first appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 23, 2013.