Mary Mussman

Apparently Irrational Beliefs

Irrational for me 
to believe in the longevity of staying with you,

but I believe in it. 
We are on a walk. When we separate
to let a lamppost pass between us
I say bread and butter so we won’t quarrel.

I am uncertain 
about the truth of this charm.

We disagree anyway. Small things,
like about the taste of rosewater
or how your quietness means you are upset

although you say you are not.

At the river we consider the ice disc 
and read cold astrology in the flaws on its edges.

The material is exactly
its meaning. Ice circles are fatidic.

I know that I believe this, but only have 
faith that you believe it too, 
that you are not just playing along.

Mary Mussman is a poet and literary researcher interested in the semiotics of queer experience. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The White Review, wildness, fields, and elsewhere. She lives and works on unceded Ohlone homelands in Berkeley, California.