Anna Gayle

all I want is to be soft again

all I want is to be soft again.
to have my mother’s hands.

in a dream my hair is sacrificed to summer
and does not spite the sun as each strand spins gold.

in a dream stainless steel is out-won by ivory
and I am satin nightgown smooth, like a dance

between pockets of warm dough or
a flirtation with piano keys.

in a dream I am the gentle rake
of neatly trimmed nails against a scalp

or the lullaby touch of velvet,
singing a child to sleep.

all I want is to be soft again.
to shed a layer of skin.

in a dream my body is brushstrokes
of an oil painting, like a renaissance

woman’s flesh or a gossamer
cloud blended into the sky.

in a dream I am swallowed by wide-eyed
innocence, up-swept lashes that curtain care,

my lips the pearled kiss planted on a newborn’s cheek.
my arms cradle her effortlessly. please.

all I want is to be soft again.
this time, I will be loved all by myself.

Anna Gayle is a poet still trying to decide where she is from. She is an MFA candidate at Oregon State University whose work has appeared in Thimble Lit Magazine, Empty House Press, Identity Theory, and The Roadrunner Review. Anna writes about black womanhood, collective femininity, and family. Most of her free time is spent baking, painting, and FaceTiming her niece.

Issue 19 • Next: Ronald J. Pelias