Michelle Chan Brown

Conjoined Love Poem

We sleep in the sink of each other,
twined like mutant root vegetables.
Eyes shut, smiling like a dreamer,
she seeks my vittles. How I envy
the stink of the braver girl’s saliva.
How I concede, assume the roast’s
position. I pinken, settle for the slick
of lip to lipid. She’ll cede to an ear
unpierced, a lopped near-breast,
a foreshadow of hormonal activity.
Bunk beds are obsolete. Our father
cans sardines & eats himself to sleep,
pens studies of snails & Samurai
knives. His knees knock. His lap
is huge as a hammock. She pushes me
off the swing, invites the gypsies to my
birthday. They laugh their wise eyes
out. Just keep her talking, they advise.
She says: Be grateful you’re the ugly one.
Come night, house quiet, we ready
for a stand-off, inventory our weapons:
tweezers, a shared set of press-ons,
our roofless hearts. She’s empathetic
with the rain, homogeny of a droplet,
the deference to soak and seed. This is
her weakness. He’d sooner leave
than choose. She plants her feet
to earth, says watch me, watch me growing