Gemma Cooper-Novack
Poetry Winner, OUTSpoken Contest


I know it isn't worth it, after all
—desire that overwhelms and misdirects—
but then, again, despite myself, I fall.

The longing hits me sharper than an awl,
so sharp the pain serves only to perplex.
I know it isn't worth it, after all.

She's out of bounds, but still I heed the call
each time, of backs and fingers, lips and necks.
No matter what I tell myself, I fall.

The problem, taken on its own, is small,
but still its repercussions are complex.
I know it isn't worth it, after all,

but if you've longed, you know you can't forestall
it, know it crashes, burns, and wrecks,
and you, no matter how resistant, fall.

I want to take her in that car, this hall,
I want to have inevitable sex.
I know it isn't worth it, after all,
but even when I know that's true, I fall.

Gemma Cooper-Novack is a writer, writing coach, and arts educator who lived in New York, Chicago, and Pokuase, Ghana before moving to Boston. Her poetry has appeared in more than a dozen journals, including Amethyst Arsenic, Ballard Street Poetry Journal (Pushcart Prize nomination), Hanging Loose, Lyre Lyre, PressBoardPress, The Saint Ann's Review, Spry, and Tampa Review Online; her fiction has been published in Elsewhere and Printer's Devil Review. Gemma's plays have been produced in Chicago and New York, and her articles have appeared on Feminist Review and Elevate Difference and in NASPA Knowledge Communities. She enjoys baking cookies and walking on stilts in her spare time.

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