i keep bending like this not so
a man will want me but will
want to balance a pound of me
on his tongue.
this meaning a rope i imagine
tied around my waist pulls
my hips toward heaven
where they belong.
this meaning i feel my wrists chained and lift
the arms behind my prone weight a praise
into the air that leaves the back
open for what service it may offer.
which is heavier:
a teaspoon of sweat?
a teaspoon of spit?
this chant is a kind of want
we throw into the mirror.
this worship sounds like the shower running
so it can drown the hymn we hum below it.
what we’re sure of we hold in vibrato
but other songs in this sweatbox jump better
in the raw back of the throat.
i keep trying to sing them.
Sam Pittman is the author of the chapbook Mostly Water (Seven Kitchens Press), which won the 2016 Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Grist, Frontier Poetry, Bellevue Literary Review, Newfound: A Journal of Place, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and The Good Men Project. He is a graduate of the MFA Program in Writing at the University of Pittsburgh and holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. Sam lives and teaches writing in Pittsburgh, PA.