Love in the Time of Dissent
I’m lying back on my couch, making love while the nation burns
In a pixelated fire, conjured daily in news studios and fuelled by
The words of errant anchors; words that the nation doesn’t want to know
And would be better off silencing, really.
I shift beneath him and sigh, arch my back, my eyes shut:
While a woman loses face to blackness and pain
I voluntarily embrace the blindness that pleasure brings.
I listen not for the sounds of dissent, or the sounds of hatred and jingoism
Echoing down my street
But for the sounds of interruptions – was that a key rustling in my lock?
Are my roommates back? No, thank God –
Never mind that the water has been mostly cut off
And they could be in danger somewhere in this city
I wet my lips with desire.
He breathes down my neck, and his stubble prickles deliciously.
I believe the sweet nothings he whispers in my ear in the heat of the moment
It’s a collective disease of the nation, isn’t it? Believing too soon, I mean
But I pay no attention except to the slow-building ecstasy
And the release doesn’t clear my mind, but makes me want to
Snuggle closer into the web of lies that comforts me, stroking my hair.
As if I were a child and not an adult capable of political expression
Whose death could be of consequence, worthy of consideration.
He falls asleep on my arm, oblivious to my pain
Snoring while I struggle to extricate myself from under him
I finally feel his weight, pinning me down, rendering me unable to breathe
Yet I hesitate to wake him – I love him, after all
And he needs the rest, as all protectors do.
And so I suffer in silence for him.
Because the alternative would be waking him up.
The alternative would be watching his fair and handsome features
Arrange themselves into a disapproving frown
Or worse, a look of pain – ‘I thought you loved me.
Look at my mother, my sister – they laid down their lives so I could live
And you would not tolerate even a bit of pain for my comfort?’
I don’t want that conversation.
And to love him is my duty, regardless of whether he loves me back.
So I tire not of mindlessly repeating the words to old songs
Proclaiming undying love, and thinking of his mother and his sister
And their selfless love
And like a good girlfriend
And a good nationalist
I slather on the makeup to hide my bruises.