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When I Tell You I Want Nothing

Priscilla Thomas

When I say that I want nothing for my birthday, I am saying,

You can give me a spot in the crowd by the stage – the crush of sound and bodies, your voice fluttering warm against the side of my face.

Give me new sounds and silence that yawns and settles, that does not tense with dread and demand.

Give me a room with a door. Give me upstairs and downstairs and out back.

Give me the open embrace of your arms – your dance space, my dance space, our dance space – and the humidity of strangers and the drumbeats rewriting my heart.

Water from a refilled plastic bottle, a spigot on a wall, a brook in a clearing, the cup of my hand.

Give me fruit sliding wetly from an iron blade into the waiting grasp of my stained fingers; give me all your dogs and all their wet, joyful noses.

Give me unclenched shoulders, jaw, legs. Give me ease. Give me foolish abandon.

Give me your faces, smiling widely in the cradle of my praying palms – wreathed in flowers, in neon, in one hundred floating hearts filled to bursting.

Light my candles with the flickering, tender hope that for this moment, I am the most important headline in your world.

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