On Being Single at Thirty-Seven
Oh god, the poems I wrote in my twenties.
All I seemed to have were holes.
Power leaked from me like a sieve.
My own power, I mean.
I cleaned up what spilled from men,
touching my heart.
I said what I needed to say and then
didn’t need to say it anymore.
Years later, almost forty, I feel
more like a boat, or a balloon.
Buoyant, weightless, the holes
plugged up, the hull my own little kingdom.
No one enters unless asked,
lovers come bearing gifts,
I sacrifice for no one.
I steer. Look at me, a woman,
when I am speaking to you.
The Nomad’s Lament
That I have to choose one country.
That I am expected to pick one love.
That one city is imagined to be enough for me.
That I shouldn’t want to fuck the entire world,
each man and each woman, seeking out those
who might possess the mathematics of making me come.
That devotion to one career in which I am expected to succeed
should satisfy me. I know
what I do not love.
I know, also, why the Greeks loved their gods,
the whole lot of them, their enemies and aches,
impossible desires for mortals out of reach,
their constant changing into animals, trees.
If I own it, my fear of commitment,
if I hold it in my two hands,
right at the heart level,
and I look, and you look,
and it shudders at the shock
of such piercing stares,
and when we poke it, as we do,
it winces, collapses into itself then
throbs back out in defiance,
as if it has something urgent to say,
like an asshole—not a euphemism,
like the literal assholes in those videos,
you know the ones—
and we talk about and try
to accept it into our lives,
mine, but also yours,
is it possible to coax it into metamorphosis,
stick feathers into it, turn it into something winged,
light and airborne, just about to fly, but somehow, impossibly, also staying put?
Considering The End of the Relationship
I’m at a Beach Boys concert with my mom and sister thinking of you.
Thinking of how you and John Stamos
are the exact same age.
He looks good, a little younger than you.
I Google to see if he’s married. He is. She is 35.
I’m seeing May-December relationships everywhere:
John Stamos, 57, married a woman 22 years younger.
Their toddler is on stage wearing headphones.
The Friends reunion reminds me
that Courteney Cox’s character dated Tom Selleck,
who is 20 years older in real life.
Their fictional romance ended
due to their 20-year age gap. Ours is also 20.
Today Boris Johnson married his girlfriend,
23 years younger.
I am looking at a stage on which a dozen men
in their 50s, 60s, and 70s
play instruments and sing and dance around.
Some look more tired than others.
Can you imagine singing the same songs for 60 years?
The Beach Boys formed in 1961.
You were born in 1963. So was John Stamos.
Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray is onstage, too.
I had a crush on him in high school.
He is 53 now, his face ruined with plastic surgery.
Two things about an age difference relationship:
It arouses me
and it makes me scared.
I understand how unfeminist it looks,
like I need to be adored by an older man (and I do),
like I need financial care (I don’t like to think I do),
like I have Daddy issues (that too).
I stopped believing in poetry a long time ago.
I stopped trying to write poems with images
and metaphors a long time ago, too.
I am at a Beach Boys concert thinking of you
and our love, which has felt doomed from the start
and drowning in difficulties but
lifted us up and made us laugh
and made you feel loved and me loved
and the whole year of the pandemic we celebrated
having found each other,
little fireworks bursting
with joy, sizzling against each other,
it was love, it still is, crackling electric neon light
in the air, cascades of light, lots of loud fun noise
and then the inevitable regular sky returns.
Poem About Love
Forgive me, love.
I had to keep all the doors open to survive.
Kristin Sanders is the author of Cuntry (Trembling Pillow Press, 2017), a finalist for the 2015 National Poetry Series, and two chapbooks: Orthorexia, and This is a map of their watching me, a finalist in the 2015 BOAAT Chapbook Competition. Her poetry was recently included in Prose Poetry: An Introduction (Princeton University Press, 2020). Her nonfiction has appeared in Longreads, LitHub, Los Angeles Review of Books, Bitch, The Guardian, and Weird Sister. She holds an MFA from LSU, and previously served as a poetry editor of the New Orleans Review.