Poet Wrestling with Starhorse in the Dark

Rosebud Ben-Oni

But I am human & need to be loved just like ::

Shut your mouth & drive. Isn’t that your space-

             ship parked outside (take me higher)? How soon is


                         leg & sing        tumbling

                                      down Queens

Boulevard of eight lanes I

             know better (the wrong way just like


& left it on the ground today,

             this mass of mine seeping

                         & numbness & my neurologist won’t curse you

rabid skateboard

             won’t name you

when under floodlight examination

                                      :: you do not appear ::

                         loyal & grieved.
.                                                             My love is—

another thing.

He does not believe in you & listens

                                                   for you in the dark. Never asks for proof

I cannot give him.
It’s hard to speak plainly
when they ask what you are.
They assume I am still all human

                                                                               (need to be)

& not a war


between the two.

That to become
yours is to lose

now that I write of our alien love in the dark.

                                                                         No metaphors,
.                                                                                          no closet doors,
.                                                                                                      when I say

I read love poems to an alien in the dark
& demand (how soon is) embrace.


Your kind does not do such things.
& sometimes it’s tempting,
to be a kind of new
to the universe.

But I am human
because I need
home & home
is giving each other
our blood & our bones & you
have neither
dearest wandering flash & fire—


Farewell. Best
wishes & kindest regards
of the fifth kind. I’ve already
waited too long & all my nerves are

                                                                centripetally yours
.                                                                             singing ::

                                                    our starbird cry,

                                        oh smashmouth
.                                                                oh cinder-
.                                                    block
.                                                                shine.

Rosebud Ben-Oni is a 2014 NYFA Fellow and a CantoMundo Fellow; her collection, turn around BRXGHT XYXS is forthcoming in 2019.