It might be true that we hunger most for what we least deserve.
Lauren Alleyne’s “To My Lover’s Partner, Upon Their Separation” is a lovers’ poem. It is also a sorrowing, a clearing in a field where abandon has sprung, where wine has been licked from the mouth of another, where we who love, and lose that love, have fallen to our knees. The poem assembles a trinity — yes, an unholy one. A threesome of people who should never share an elevator, but who’ve among themselves triangulated bodily fluid, betrayal, and drunken scrolls of three am s/t/exts. Lose my number, bitch jostling for inbox space alongside Wear what you wore the first time, when you come for me again.
Even the happiest of polygamists will tell you that multiples mean you increase your math. What arithmetic, then, do the byproducts of longing — those who didn’t consent to each other’s chemistry in their lives — what math do they perform? Apologies, perhaps. Refusals, certainly. The narrator of the poem offers not an act of contrition, but a statement of defense: “I wanted nothing / but to sip at your river / and slip away. / Instead, I swallowed the beast. / Sometimes it howls in your voice.”
Alleyne’s poem is a contortionist, arcing backward to expose the ravaged throat, the hipbone-stars of every ragged desire we feel for each other. The limbs of the poem move around us, four movements like four human stems watered by our secrecies, our small chapbooks of greed and need. We are, as the poem says, all fodder. This is true whether we’re sinning, or the ones sinned against: look how we all tremble, in our gingerbread houses waiting for the bears to batter down the candied doors. Look how we’re beast and fugitive.
Read “To My Lover’s Partner, Upon Their Separation” here.
Lauren Alleyne‘s Honeyfish won the 2018 Green Rose Prize, and will be published in 2019 by New Issues Press.
This is the twenty-sixth installment of Puncheon and Vetiver, a Caribbean Poetry Codex created to address vacancies of attention, focus and close reading for/of work written by living Caribbean poets, resident in the region and diaspora. During April, which is recognized as ‘National’ Poetry Month, each installment will dialogue with a single Caribbean poem, available to read online. NaPoWriMo encourages the writing of a poem for each day of April. In answering, parallel discourse, Puncheon and Vetiver seeks to honour the verse we Caribbean people make, to herald its visibility, to read our poems, and read them, and say ‘more’.