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[Goldenrod, I could say, you know, everybody wants something] by Diane Seuss

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[Goldenrod, I could say, you know, everybody wants something]
Diane Seuss

Goldenrod, I could say, you know, everybody wants something

from me, but, well, everybody wants something and nobody wants

nothing from me, goldenrod, towhead, beast. Goldenrod, you pack

the meadows like gold-plated sardines. I have heart palpitations

but all forms of relief end with a kickback, like my aunt with the black

eye who lied she was kicked by a horse. Free goldfinch comes to feast

on thistles in May and perches and weaves and sings of its political

exhaustion. Pisses me off, bird, to find out the devil from Sunday school

is real. I didn’t even have my own Sunday school. Trespassed and thieved

art supplies and gibberish. Had I only tied the play apron around my waist

and faced the windy sun and watched your gold hermaphroditic wands sway.

Dumbbell that I was I sought a product called God though the whole village

was opulent with gilded heathens. Goldenrod, is your dying hard? I know,

I know dying’s hard. Are you reaching toward, you know, or just reaching?


I suppose everything begins with a declaration of desire. Everyone wants something—attention, validation, redemption. To be heard. To be held. To be beloved. Everyone wants something, and perhaps the beast we keep within ourselves remains thirsty most of our lives.

How does one find beauty amidst the struggle, and isn’t that tiring as fuck. How I want to fall asleep sometimes with the knowledge that I struggled as best I could, and let that be that. I am a cockroach wriggling on my back, and there is no allure to the labour of being myself. And yet.

What do I pursue. What do I hunger for. How do I reckon with the fact that everyone dies.

Have you ever been hurt by someone you love? Have them touch you expecting tenderness and yet there is only trauma? Have you ever fabricated a story to cover up the bruises, and mostly of your own failures to protect yourself, and in the process discovered the lengths you are willing to go to in order to escape the harsh reality of your life?

I suppose everything dies. Even the goldenrod. I wonder if it knows about our shared struggle of confronting our impermanence. If it understands the self-deceptions we perpetrate to avoid facing difficult truths.

Tell me: have you ever questioned the nature of your own reaching? And what have you found?


This poem appeared in frank:sonnets by Diane Seuss, published by Graywolf Press, 2020. Shared here with profound gratitude.


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