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On Lust
I look in the morning

                            having an upward aspect or direction, lamb: honorable, prideful, seeing with attention—

                            the name of Thy city—electric shell, nucleus of general movement; 
                            crocus of crouching

                                                     and in my heart— 

                                        (Secretly, and under all circumstances, the extremity is fair, 
                            welcoming, and conquer’d. 

                                                     Darest thou walk? Darest thou reign? Darest thou 
                            behold, the month of passage and gin, fast and flood? 

                            A still in contact with Hereupon, Thereupon, and Whereupon. 

Wilst thou knife and point? Travel to the highest gate of my tender seat?) 

                 like a politic.

                                        (The luminary supply flattened in the sun. 

                            Have a mind to be mine; break the shell or take what you will. 

                                                     Lone and undraped, wear me down. 

                 For I am at leisure, and of Tea-shine and fuss … 

                                        I am engaged, and unmarried;

                            I am containing nothing—the empty belly wanting fullness— 
                      the pulse: a once-climbing gentle rook. 

                                        A ship may be defined as a large hollow—whence into your
                                        chamber, I am one who is never satisfied.) 

                                        (Sniffing and poking with the nose, place the material object in 
                            [me, me, only me]—so, routing and rutting like a dog, 

                            mistake my love, and what I might tear down. 

                            O, thou art the List! And a halfpenny, a husband, a lover, or Me. 

                And was I an individual with proceedings? One in a plight or predicament?) 

                            In a group of animals I saw what I was to become. 

                      Confident in play and opposed to ride or creep.         My gait was dash. 
                      Hence of horses: the power of rolling, going quiet the meadow … 

                                        and, yet the evening party covered with lemon flowers and rung
                            bells—in fact, we grew dusk. 

                                                     (So, we might take molded punch afterwards—giggle-
                            water or rabbits for our Passions, an early barrel of Lap.) 

                                        Sincerely, I am ready to see your generator.  

JoAnna Novak's memoir Contradiction Days is forthcoming from Catapult in July 2023. Her fourth book of poetry, DOMESTIREXIA, is forthcoming from Soft Skull Press in 2024. Novak’s short story collection Meaningful Work won the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest and was published by FC2. She is the author of the novel I Must Have You and three books of poetry: New Life; Abeyance, North America; and Noirmania. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and other publications.