O allegro, O accelerando, O vivacissimo,
I call upon you now, thalamus and hypothalamus,
stop drumming up your adrenalin when I love.
My lover says if I can’t be with him now
he’ll probably give himself to another,
not for sex, but for maturity; no, not for maturity,
for true love indeed—and he says he will never
forget me too quickly. O allegro con spirito,
O molto allegro, O allegretto maestoso!
What a torrent in his mouth when he calls my forehead
Suzuki and my nose Asashi! The identical beat
hoofing on each vowel rushes me to love this, this, this
of his while I’m still rejecting that, that, that of his.
Those promises of I will wait, I will try, I will give
are heat and froth. My thirteen years in his babble
are a jelly-squishy humanness squashing together
his vows and my dreams. Feel me, he says.
I’m not familiar with him, so I’m not
familiar with how to feel him—adagio ma non troppo,
moderately slow but not too slow; yet his moderato
is my allegretto. Please let me settle down first,
I plead. Please keep me as dating the clouds,
he appeals. His body, a curve in the smoke,
rises into a red-green skyline that I can hardly
enter—even with my largo. O largo!
Open me tenderly, he says, petite and dolce,
like splitting a chrysalis. I flay him open,
and howl: Wait! He: For what?
Quick, butts, say I fuckin’ love you,
or else, he’ll say: My ex-fiancée wants a family.
O Scarlatti, O Shostakovich, tell me, tell me,
how fast is an allegro, how recklessly should I whoosh,
as if time has dropped the idea of stroll?
Belle Ling is a PhD student in creative writing, specialising in poetry, at the University of Queensland. Her poems have appeared in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, Overland, Meanjin and more. Her poetry manuscript ‘Rabbit-Light’ was awarded Highly Commended in the 2018 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize.