George Shiras / Katie Martin / The Atlantic

For a girl to scam the world
        to slip out the lies from her body
she must open up and risk the penetration of fakes
        and know herself as a name she didn’t choose.

Online lover: Do you tell God the truth?
        I don’t think we do.
I think we have a God-facing self that
        cannot be entire
even as it loves and receives.
        He is only real in that part of us.
Compartments of related truths
        are not a unity of truth.
My lover doesn’t save each part of his heart.
        He uses it whole over and over again
while I crouch over each of my portions.
        Who is more sincere?

Our minds abuzz but our bodies never completing
        just beckoning
the shameful outlets soaked.
        Writing is my proof
but proofs are only specifically true
        and I think the sum of my specifics is a lie.
My heart and blood recede
        but my electrics seem to be in love
ceaselessly conversing.
        I don’t agree to this hallucination.
I like the decadent privacy of text
        but a part of it feels mistaken.
Others have taught me
        that many harmful things require privacy.

        Surrounding images say
I’m not how I’m supposed to be.
        It’s only in text that I can belong
even brilliantly.
        Meanwhile pollen keeps coating the world
gathering into clumps on the water.
        The snow never melts in the empire’s shade—
what am I to do, shaking lily?
        The network doesn’t always register the murder of their kin.
Sometimes there is simply an absence among their number
        at the beginning of the night
when it’s safer to sleep huddled together.

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