by Lauren Bender
I pack my identity guides,
flip and re-flip the pages in my quest to make
not just of what I am and not just of
what I think I am
or what I would like to think I am
but what I could be. Most important of all
those possibilities, and the way
my astrological label can tell me
I’m bold and confident and aggressive
and I can latch on to a delusion that it’s all there,
hidden under the surface personality
that has always been the exact opposite.
I hide out in my hotel room hunched over various
typologies, chanting identity, identity,
as if the word itself, like magic, must give me
something to point to in my defense.
I tongue the taste of introversion
and harmony-seeker and judgmental,
more delicious than whatever is happening
outside the door, where all those people
roam and bump against each other and never seem worried
they may not know themselves well enough
to be ready for such raw reality.
Lauren Bender lives in Burlington, VT. Her work has appeared in IDK Magazine, The Collapsar, Gyroscope Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Yes Poetry, and others.