“In Other Words, Don’t Fight It” by Alison Castleman

I want to find the—
what is the opposite of intersection?
the undoing of intersection

—place where feelings depart

for years, like a hot trickle of possible
probability, he
was the drop. We
held apart
to prolong the heart
slow suspense,
low simmer,
so that through proximity we might always be warm
never touch, never risk putting fire out.

A lesson on first love:
being in love
doesn’t make you happy.
Being in love
makes the whole world
swollen unbearably
with import or beauty or—
god I wonder if there are people
you always miss.

For lack of this,
sometimes attraction is easy
and doubtless, stupid,
unambiguous, I don’t give two fucks
about being your friend. This one was meant
for kissing. Kissing you is so familiar
it is run of the mill before the first

Published in Penn Review Volume 46, Issue 1


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