Girl 6

Joy Priest

I know happiness is chemical. & that I exist. As: an intense state of longing
punctuated by quick sparks of contentment. As: a body not allowed to pursue
its own pleasure. So, it becomes a game of finding ways around politeness, my
own split-open mouth. I tide my bed in salt waves, wait to be satiated, degraded.
Wet with shame, I offer myself in cyclical failure to no one in particular, a
religious practice. I demonstrate 365 maneuvers in swallowing grief, a self-
defense discipline. I want to be disciplined for wanting to enjoy the end &
shudder of anyone trapped inside my mouth—that wilderness.

                                             My heart has gone the distance so soon, I worry.

                 I reprogram parameters for survival & end up at a canyon called
                Segregation of Feeling, what I used to know of my body left on the other
                side. As: a woman disenfranchised from touch—that impoverished
                excuse for kindness. Hide me somewhere really dark. Hide me inside
                your hand. Turn me like an hour glass, my own recognizable voice giving
                up inside your scythe-shaped palm, becoming two voices. One a master
                of hurt—that science. One saying yes in the language of gravel, in a
                register lower than smoke.

* Girl 6 is a 1996 Spike Lee film about a phone sex operator.