I once met a girl whose name rhymed
with orange. She was all pronouns:
Her You She. She took what was not beloved
by her and smashed it. She believed nothing
in the world belonged not broken. At night, she’d kiss her
pronouns, tuck them in beside her.
There are many variables in this equation. She is
orange-like and her skin is made of citrus. She is
almost the color of fox, pumpkin, monarch butterfly. She is
a constant she. A her defined by the biggest
riddle in words. Once a man held her up to the light,
told her she was like a sapphire, or a lieblicher blue.
She liked blue, knew it led to other things in the world –
a bead of dew on the grass, a baby's shoe.
Yesterday she imagined she was silver. Today she thinks
she hears an owl calling her name.
In your measurable body I search for a number.
By night I find zero, everything becomes number.
Twice I’ve tried to add infinity to the length of two,
what your mouth forgot became a negative number.
If I subtract you tomorrow or today, you’ll just be added
somewhere else, become someone else’s number.
I can’t count the immensity of a lover when you’re gone.
Each cell unloved multiplies until it’s an incalculable number.
Large masses move to large masses like strangers to strange
places. You didn’t know this love would make you number?
You said One pretty, naked girl is worth a million
statues. I wonder if I am the girl or the number.
Kimberly Grey's poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in TriQuarterly, Linebreak, New York Quarterly, The Awl, The Brooklyn Review, and other journals. She lives in Queens, NY and will teach contemporary poetry at Adelphi University in the spring. Her website is www.kimberlyMgrey.com .