by Erin Beliieu
is not what I was though
you said I was
in an apartment in St. Louis
on a green shag carpet redolent
of the previous renter’s cat.
Above all things I am accurate.
So what to say of the sunlight?
In the 21st century, there’s nothing
to say about sunlight which lasted
as long as it takes to have sex, and
made us feel as warm as humans get,
perfectly human, perfectly warm,
though, sadly, you don’t remember this.
Though, sadly, I remember this, and
it still makes me angry— which is another word for sad
as well as a synonym for nothing.
Though if anything is,
your sadness is perfect,
your human disappointment,
which you’ve raised like a baby
in a black Baby Bjorn,
coaxing it into the best sadness
anything warm could hope for.
Your sadness gets a perfect score,
a 1600 on the GRE,
but if I had a gun,
I’d shoot your sadness through
the knee. Then the head.
Or if I were a goddess,
I’d turn you to a tree with silver leaves
or a flower with a center as yellow as sunlight,
like they used to do when saving
the beautiful from themselves.

0 thoughts on “Perfect

  1. A difficult, painful poem. It takes us through variations in meaning and makes us ponder them: “angry–which is another word for sad as well as a synonym for nothing.” “Nothing” also defines sunlight and sex, in that there is nothing to say about them, but then the poet goes on to say how they are related, through the feeling of warmth, which has very positive connotations here: “sex…which made us feel as warm as humans get, perfectly human, perfectly warm;” but doesn’t last and isn’t remembered. And then we’re left with the word “perfect,” in the title and “your sadness is perfect” which “gets a perfect score,” referring to the other person in the poem. How can sadness be perfect? We don’t know specifically, other than it’s attached to “your human disappointment,” nurtured and raised by the other’s personality. Maybe it has to do with that person not remembering the warmth shared with the poet, which shuts it off into a realm all its own–a nothing–yet hurts the poet so deeply she could kill the other, as goddesses did, “saving the beautiful from themselves.” Not “for” but “from.” That’s the killer. The beautiful word “love” isn’t in the poem, but it was in her past, to be denied for having been forgotten by the other person.

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