Litany

By Carolyn Creedon b. 1969 Carolyn Creedon
Tom, will you let me love you in your restaurant?
I will let you make me a sandwich of your invention and I will eat it and call
it a carolyn sandwich. Then you will kiss my lips and taste the mayon­naise and 
that is how you shall love me in my restaurant

Tom, will you come to my empty beige apartment and help me set up my daybed?
Yes, and I will put the screws in loosely so that when we move on it, later,
it will rock like a cradle and then you will know you are my baby

Tom, I am sitting on my dirt bike on the deck. Will you come out from the kitchen
and watch the people with me?
Yes, and then we will race to your bedroom. I will win and we will tangle up
on your comforter while the sweat rains from our stomachs and fore­heads

Tom, the stars are sitting in tonight like gumball gems in a little girl’s 
jewelry box. Later can we walk to the duck pond?
Yes, and we can even go the long way past the jungle gym. I will push you on
the swing, but promise me you’ll hold tight. If you fall I might disappear

Tom, can we make a baby together? I want to be a big pregnant woman with a
loved face and give you a squalling red daughter.
No, but I will come inside you and you will be my daughter

Tom, will you stay the night with me and sleep so close that we are one person?
No, but I will lie down on your sheets and taste you. There will be feathers
of you on my tongue and then I will never forget you

Tom, when we are in line at the convenience store can I put my hands in your
back pockets and my lips and nose in your baseball shirt and feel the crook
of your shoulder blade?
No, but later you can lie against me and almost touch me and when I go I will
leave my shirt for you to sleep in so that always at night you will be pressed
up against the thought of me

Tom, if I weep and want to wait until you need me will you promise that someday
you will need me?
No, but I will sit in silence while you rage, you can knock the chairs down
any mountain. I will always be the same and you will always wait

Tom, will you climb on top of the dumpster and steal the sun for me? It’s just
hanging there and I want it.
No, it will burn my fingers. No one can have the sun: it’s on loan from God.
But I will draw a picture of it and send it to you from Richmond and then you
can smooth out the paper and you will have a piece of me as well as the sun

Tom, it’s so hot here, and I think I’m being born. Will you come back from
Richmond and baptise me with sex and cool water?
I will come back from Richmond. I will smooth the damp spiky hairs from the
back of your neck and then I will lick the salt off it. Then I will leave

Tom, Richmond is so far away. How will I know how you love me?
I have left you. That is how you will know

Carolyn Creedon, “Litany” from Wet. Copyright © 2012 by Carolyn Creedon. Reprinted by permission of The Kent State University Press.

Source: Wet (Kent State University Press, 2012)

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Poet Carolyn Creedon b. 1969

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated, Romantic Love, Relationships, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Poet and editor Carolyn Creedon was born in Newport News. She earned a BA from Smith College, where she won the Glascock Prize, an MA from Washington University, and an MFA from the University of Virginia, where she won the Academy of American Poets Prize.
 
Creedon’s free verse poems explore our experiences of suffering and longing within an expansive, and at times sacred, field. In her author’s statement for The Best of the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated, Romantic Love, Relationships, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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