• The Age of Pleasure

    Derrick Austin

    Winter 2024

    for Erdem

    The hottest day in the hottest week in human history.
    Cats in shadow dodged the sun but not each other’s rage or lust,
    shredding and shrieking behind the Euro Plaza Hotel.
    What had you done for seven weeks but get food poisoning
    and your phone pickpocketed? The only person you knew
    on the continent was your lover with a jellyfish tattooed on his back.
    Iced tea at the coffee shop where he worked. It wasn’t true
    that you never went out. The mosaics were hidden. All but one
    museum was closed for renovation. The police demanded
    your passport in the street. The police have that unmistakable tone
    even in another tongue. Around midnight you’d turn feral
    if he didn’t call, his voice guiding you beyond the stony fortress of the self.
    Your best friend texted, Fuck a Gemini at your peril.
    Your gums bled when you flossed in his bathroom.
    He was depressed. You were too, though the particulars differed.
    The last time you shared his bed you were reading Ordinary Notes,

    Derrick Austin is the author of Tenderness (BOA Editions 2021), winner of the 2020 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, and Trouble the Water (BOA Editions 2016).

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