Without Consent

Joanna Valente

There is a man who says all of the oxygen
in the universe causes cancer and we’re sitting
at a bar in Brooklyn and there’s nothing

but air between us and neither of us wants
to talk and this is the most I ever want
out of humans

besides a candle between my thighs
which is better than any man
because distance is a tomb where forever 

isn’t forever but means forever 
for you. You say your publicist is here, 
so clean it up. You wake up in cold

sweats every night, a demon pressing
stones against your chest, pushing you
down into a tomb without your consent.