A study in aging
BY KYLE DARGAN
In your right hand, a neat glass of Maker’s Mark sipped
just enough to risk the sloshing. Your left grips
the headboard. Your feeling face: eyes closed. You navigate
me with your hips. Sight so beautiful, I have to laugh:
Now that’s some blk shit. And we are old enough
to know how true that is, to savor the elegant fuck-
it-all that somehow carried our mothers’ and fathers’
mothers and fathers forward in this country that tries
so hard to make us unseen. Baldwin said they may not
know what we want, but they know they wouldn’t want
to be blk in this country. That that was all that needed
understanding. But wouldn’t they want to be us in this
moment—two bodies as pleasure’s pure insistence,
escaping in ways our mothers and fathers might think us
too old for? In the short spell before we rouse at 3AM
to again rattle each other, we’ll call the concierge—twice—
and report the boisterous high schoolers flanking our room,
as if we weren’t just ruckus ourselves. When security
arrives to rap on their doors, there’s the satisfaction
of teaching those kids a lesson. Also the worry of wondering
what the guard will see when he sees their skin. But the kids
aren’t brown—we can tell by the casual and wholly appropriate
tone the officer takes with them. They are just children,
as we maybe once were, and they aren’t making the same noise
we are—the well-earned and lusty disturbance that is
creation, a history you don’t dare interrupt with a knock.
BY KYLE DARGAN
“there is blood in the morning egg
that makes me turn and weep”
Between the work at work
and the work at home, I rush
inside a grocery to buy
the bits for quick breakfasts
that leave me hungry
by the time I return to my office.
It is an organic market,
and as I shop I can hear my mother—
her mouth full of pennies—
mocking each cent I overpay
for staples. But time’s expense
burns black holes in pockets,
so no detour to a cheaper store.
So honey priced like wine.
So six eggs for what would
buy twelve. All in the name
of time. It will be days before I
have a moment when I can
pause my pre-commute
to click on the electric kettle, boil
water for steeping rooibos
and poaching eggs. Eventually,
I reach inside the refrigerator,
revisit the words “cage-free”
“pasture-raised” which all read,
in my earlier haste, like gibberish
strings of dollar signs. Cracked
open, what the brown pods
release into the ramekin is a yolk-
yellow so plump and lucent.
I tear up thinking of all the weak
or sallow suns I have dropped
into water, of the stressed
existences that made those eggs.
What of my thin shell or my
own yoke unbroken within me
(both functions of money, time,
deficits)? And I know nothing
about industrial farms. And I
understand so much of blackness
as what I do in spite of my caging.
But I know I cannot buy another
egg not laid by a bird
I believe foraged, walked freely
under the sun—deciding
how to value her motion, her blood.
A bourgeois privilege, I know.
But if not to make that choice,
why else am I grinding myself down for these wages?
Kyle Dargan is the author of the forthcoming collection Anagnorisis (TriQuarterly/NUP, 2018). His four previous collections, all published by the University of Georgia Press, include Honest Engine, Logorrhea Dementia, Bouquet of Hungers and The Listening. He is the founder and editor of POST NO ILLS magazine (www.postnoills.com), and an associate professor of creative writing at American University in Washington, D.C., where he lives. For more information, please visit www.american-boi.com.
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