Conversation With a Would-be Lover

Posted in

I sit here staring at her because I am afraid to say the words that will prove to her that I am fully alive. Why must we move through life with such formalities? We are catching up over coffee, using other people’s words to talk circles around each other so that our conversation holds a kind of pathetic absurdity. I want to say I like the way the tenderness shines through your eyes and the syntax of your sentences; I like the way your frame moves when you walk so much that I wish I could fall into perfect step with it and feel it as my own. I say, “It’s good to see you,” but what I mean is that the shape and sound of her voice feel something like a weighty summer breeze, and when I’m with her I can’t help but to pay extra attention to what it means that blood is coursing through my veins. “How are you?” But what I am really wondering is if she feels this, too: does her body somehow also house an incompressible galaxy that feels all at once like an unending expanse of sky and a dark, empty room in which you can’t see your own hand in front of your face? And if it does — I want to believe that it does — why are we behaving this way? Why aren’t we planting fields of wildflowers just so we can lie in them, or holding each other constantly, or singing, loudly and without fear, because our voices and every other part of us may as well belong to each other anyway? Her hands mirror mine as we reach for our cups. Knuckles brush. “Oops,” she says.

Originally from upstate South Carolina, Mary Shelley Reid is a queer writer and seminarian currently residing in Princeton, New Jersey, where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary. Reid also hold a B.A. from Furman University in Creative Writing and Religion. She is particularly interested in the intersection of poetry, spirituality, and identity, which is reflected in the pieces I’ve chosen to submit to Novus.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN