“That Old Desire,” a Rumpus Original Poem by Meghan O’Rourke


That Old Desire

Was a fire
licking and hot,
a red fur with blue
trim, like an Elizabethan
ruff, if a ruff could be made
of fire on fire. It conspired
with trees, volatile
and undue, clotted
by leaves. No
cool moon, no remote
control, no mere choir. Quagmired,
ardent, it made a spire of each
tree, a church of its wants,
was turned on by buttons
and books, by days
wicking past, leafed
and lilaced and libidinous.
It could want
forever. But O, no,
it tired, went tediously
out of style, its trees
gone black
in crackling, peculiar flame,
dimmed and flat, dawn’s red-slap
replacedby iPhone and laptop,
Gigabyte and RAM, too little memory.
Adulterated by habit
& painful to inhabit
unless Prozac and Ativan
and opiates. Flame
gone lame. How shyly at night
it texts you to say I desire
, thinking perhaps
you could
mouth the words that
might ignite it, as if
“moon” were a matchstick
that, struck ardently
beneath the gaze
of that cold old satellite
might boom from dust
into must.

Meghan O’Rourke

Read the Rumpus Review of Meghan O’Rourke’s Once.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →