There’s a little mouse inside me
that eats the rubbish I ingest:
ash, lamb tartare, bits of plastic.
It’s never lonely
to live with organs that do not recognize
to eat feverishly
all that can’t be shown.
Good news: the Tenderloin BDSM club where I watched your tongue swirl some cretin’s orifice survived the pandemic. The building is nondescript if not for the red marquee that’s more of a promise than a name: POWER EXCHANGE. So it’s true that when we say love we mean control. No, my mind’s all wrong– I used to be confused, so confused by the way older men, one in particular with the face of a thousand men, used to say My wife hasn’t been the same since the miscarriage and I really crave intimacy bc when I think of intimacy I think of what it means to keep a wish to yourself after you blow out the candles, but this man’s thinking about... it’d pain me to tell you. His wife, I wish I could talk to her. I did see her, once, in a grocery store. He made up some excuse for how he knew me, eager to not mention the POWER EXCHANGE. I wish I could unsee the face she made when she took in my chubby cheeks flushed beautifully with embarrassment. I wish I could see my face the way she saw it, but every mirror casts a shadow so long down my facade it feels like midnight. I headed to the crystal shoppe to cure my unreal unrest: salt cellars, little brass bells, pale gemstones mined somewhere illegally, cruelly. Cruelty is the alchemic remainder of exchange. Or maybe capital. You know, you can’t take magic so literally– the exchange amounts to more than its parts. The wondrous magic of a sledgehammer to the head, producing a halo of chirping birds.
Giulia Bencivenga is a data analyst and the author of GIULIA BENCIVENGA IS A MANIAC (Inpatient Press, 2019), Unreasonable Whole (Gauss PDF, 2019), and CUD (nueoi press, 2020). Their work appears in Prelude Magazine, Peach Mag, Wonder and has been translated into Italian. They run the reading series Two Snake in Los Angeles (@twosnakela) and sometimes host virtual poetry workshops.