Maybe in an era
more girdered by form
I would learn
to dip and smile, like her
I would learn to take a hand
with a balance of
gravity and absence.
I would walk that
tightrope always:
not a challenge
not a burden
an ornament
conducted on an arm.

I am a bad actor,
a bad
inhabitant of form.
My greeting
smile is glazed:
a monkey
enters space,
social orbit.
It fails me
at the cocktail:
I slouch into a chair.
I call on my mother,
a genetic memory
of form.

I follow her always,
a lesser bloom
wanting some blush
to accent
a cheekbone,
her constant small
musical noise.
I wonder
at her bounds:
that she can
a house and garden.

I tried once
to be a courtesan,
to bend my will
to the satisfaction
of a single man.
I could not do
even this, be
a reassuring voice
taken out
to restaurants.

I ask her how
she sets it aside,
that part
that gasps for air.
You do not believe
enough in form,
she said:
it does not begin with you.
There are silent means
to disagree:
do not halt your
performance of form.
Plates on tables
must continue:
you are not less
than central.
This is form.

I flattened myself
around him,
insulating dough.
The excess,
cut around the dish
cried out
for restoration.

He has an
attention to form,
says God bless
as might an
American President.
I lay in bed
with the
an embodiment of
He grasped me
as a
a baby’s teething ring.

I was attentive,
let him
fuck me.
My instinct
is to smooth:
my body
is a
lower order
conforms to form,
a hand

I look again
to my mother,
and wonder at her.
She was a debutante:
she wore a
pageant sash.
Now she sits
in a
as objects
stack about her.

It is prefabricated,
a reliable nag.
It is the done.
It is assumed
to make you glad:
someone at
the counter
tempts you
with a nosebag.