Saturn Return

Everyone hurries a touch in the moody weather
but I’ve reached peak Aquarius: calmer in risk’s orbit,

ruthlessly down for whatever, even or especially if it stings
Good morning, universe, with yr sudden biting air—

My erotic imagination remains on sabbatical despite
many blessings in the house of novel apparatus

& the alleged libido spike tied to this astrological transit
as consolation for its relentless cataclysms

I tried to look moved when you showed me
a vibrator that doubles as an alarm clock

though most days, I wake trembling around
the edges & think, What rot awaits?

which cancels out both my OPTIMUM CHILL banner
& the energy-cleansing effects of a Himalayan salt lamp

my mother gave me because she suspects
I’ll never produce grandkids

& this may be true, since our economic system
is structurally rigged to fuck the working class

so let’s not go around
incriminating my dirty chakras

♢ ♢ ♢

If break room babble is any indicator,
the impending cuffing season isn’t nearly

as kinky as it sounds, & mostly hinges
on a crude sense of urgency

In the reality I inhabit, some friends
avoid saying partner, as it indicates

a hierarchy, & this harshes
the anarchic vibe

I don’t seem to fall into either camp:
power dynamics maintain their hobbyist appeal,

while having a primary partner
sublimates me into a gentler form

To demonstrate why this is important,
I gesture now at the unstable world

♢ ♢ ♢

More than 100,000 want to go to Mars
& not return reads the headline

Well, I’ll wait right here & bore a path into
the dead center of the earth using just my anxiety

or otherwise carry out the neoliberal conspiracy
of self-care: Rumors on repeat &

a man-repellant shade of lipstick
named dirty money— smudge-proof

for all those late late-capitalist nights
spent tidying this condition to let someone in

After returning from a wedding, I dart
around you for days, just in case

nesting is a communicable state
or desire molds to its closest container

When you send a fresh batch
of dick pics, my equilibrium returns

in the stillness
of remembering

we’re all just dopamine vampires
trying to skirt the mortal coil

Bleak humor suits
my soviet blood

& everything does feel fine
when Rachel says

Do you know anybody
who is okay right now

with the question mark
deliberately left out

Reclaiming my life
meant divesting

explains an article about hoarding
As if I get to choose how long

her muted perfume clings, or apply
logic like a compress to the forehead

The difficulty of divesting
isn’t in the discarding

It’s in knowing what
to keep

But I recall our particulars
all wrong

Which is to say incandescently
Which is to say I romanticize

the lack of understanding that keeps predictability
or comfort from permeating “our thing”

Nothing’s nailed down in our liminal space
of torpor & grope

Limp parts left out
in case of mood lift,

drape swell & recede, hoarse mouth
suckling a shoulder, language

held taut & this oracular heart of mine
resigned to hit snooze again

So much for yr fixed sign
& a wobbled laugh on delay


Alone now
but like, radically

Turns out no such creature steals
shiny objects for a nest

I spent a while verifying this:
folklore so rarely runs parallel

to reality & the afternoon
plainly wasted already:

no afterglow, no one left
on the to-do list

Same mild satiation
as after a bland meal

♢ ♢ ♢

What wants are left?
said new someone

& I sped through every welt,
every well-worn route to sunrise,

every kink indulged until
fringe turned its own vanilla,

every throat-pulse caught & held
throbbing, some name escaped as hiss

mine accented as a languid stretch:


leeena on a bus w/ summer cunt
post-fuck stench summoning

every stillness where the shudder
should’ve been &

every cheery shower whistle

♢ ♢ ♢

Gala says of her girlfriend,

I summoned her
now I deal w/ her

Devotion like the best curse
you can hope to suffer

Once, we held out for months
waiting to learn who was crueler

& I wanted you to win;
call it a masochism loop

or caged bird blues or
as a favorite ex put it,

People can tolerate infinite
damage of this variety

♢ ♢ ♢

What’s left to want when
the door’s never latched?

Hey yea still up,
come press here—

It’s never enough
but at luckiest

the white light holds
for an instant


After the ragdoll jerk of turbulence, the lurching buses,
benzos bitten clean in half, borrowed coat, borrowed car,

ring road followed all wide & serpentine for hours, headlong
run thru knee-level mud, now grinning stoned in this lava field

where Joe & Ryan pick crowberries for jam, chattering in the
secret dialect lovers take on after enough years together,

I think of you

& The Ethical Slut, 2nd edition, chapter 7: “Abundance”,
wherein the authors lay out their argument against

a starvation economy approach to love, how it’s not this
finite resource, so shake off all yr cultural programming

& the desire to possess— instead, get better at scheduling,
an art I can’t execute w/ any finesse & that’s partly why

I’m here w/o you or any of the others, though one of
yr curls held fast all this way, until it lifted off

& landed in the cushioned moss, which grows so slowly
w/ a sense of order I totally admire but cannot fathom.

♢ ♢ ♢

Here as home as anywhere, a Laelaps in runny nylons,
roaming from mouth to mouth, a secret or two

left intact in the babble before my hemline slides
right back to wholesome, then the harbor solo

to gape dumb at the midnight sunset & wonder if
one can bore into another w/ such precision

that the lust is perfect & all you sense, even in summer,
these long stretches w/o darkness as a comfort

to settle you, so all those big ideas dilute into
a buoyant postcard signed Yours

as in sending love from this smoky cove chock w/
episodic arguments in favor of constant motion,

each gorgeous detail the only one of its kind, &
the mind’s dazed shutter relentless to capture

this sublimity, this proof we ought to be tender,
given that our undoing breezes in just the same

♢ ♢ ♢

As muscle memory is made stubborn,
so it can reprogram: like the trick where

I pinch longing mid-shudder, save it for another
time, get the shower good & scalding,

head out divine & untethered
into the endless day.

-Alina Pleskova


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