I am too timid / to make love
I keep my want / hovering
like rest notes / before a bridge
Always I hear / the right person
will make / for a new kind
of music / I let her show me
I try to forget / the other hands
placed upon me / in a bathroom
or a parking garage / Instead
of feeling gospel / soar inside me
I relive the sound / of a tree crashing
with no one else / around to hear.
My body / pulls back / gives away
the fear / She stops / cradles me
on the floor / I cross my arms
and legs / folding / into myself
like a square of paper / trying
to become a crane / She tells me
to release / let go / the shame
The underside / of patterned paper
is a blank space /
"The trigger for this piece came from the last line of a poem by Angela Peñaredondo: 'Wanting / allows gospel.' I started writing to explore the underside of this line."
Joanne Mallari holds an MFA from the University of Nevada, Reno and is currently serving as the 2019 Nevada Humanities Poet-in-Residence. She is a contributing writer for bookinwithsunny.com, and her poetry has appeared in journals including Crab Orchard Review, Palimpsest, The Meadow, and Haight Ashbury Literary Journal.