Oliver Brooks

I Want to Marry My Best Friend

—platonically, that is. I want us to be spouses.
(Should not the plural of spouse
be spice?) I want us to be spicy—
but not “brazen as a brass tack” sort of spicy. Spice like
paprika and cinnamon, or a potted basil plant
that has a good thing going for it until
its black soil spills onto marble kitchen counter,
and we both go to scoop up crumbling loam
with cupped palms and our hands
accidentally, electrically, meet.

Spouses like picking the louse
(okay, a plurality of lice)
from each other’s scalps
when we share a bed and an infection—
but not a “carnal tête-à-tête” sort of infection.
I want it to be an infectious love where there’s
love in the hair coiled on the tub drain and love
in the bin of dead batteries in the junk drawer
and love in the belly button lint
we dig loose and set adrift each night.

Spouses that fight, like an old married couple,
like ending all our arguments with the Korean loanword hwaiting,
like we’re really whispering fight on, or break a leg,
like we’re recognizing that we’ve been intertwined so long
I forgot I couldn’t drain myself of you and live.
(Did you mean it when you said, if by 35
we both remained unwed, we should marry each other instead?)

Let’s have a fête in our garden for just us two,
get hitched and go hitchhiking, it’s fate
for us to be spouses—like it’s fate for threadbare
underwear, overalls, and a row of blouses strung
from an inverted umbrella clothesline
to take flight in an early wind,
each garment unraveling at one hem,
thread trailing like a memory or ripcord
we can’t bear to snip or yank off just yet.

Oliver Brooks (he/they) is a senior at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, pursuing a degree in Creative Writing. His work has appeared in Antithesis Journal, Beyond Thought Journal, Cantilevers: Journal of the Arts, and is forthcoming in BreakBread Magazine, Inklette, and Spellbound. They serve as the current poetry editor of The Kudzu Review and spend their free time knitting sweaters that nobody wears.

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