You Darling Thing
A book-length meditation on courtship and the language of endearment, the social promise of marriage as a type of fulfillment, as well as the tension between a desire to be alone and a desire to not be lonely.
Guided by a poem assembled from “compliments” paid by a suitor to his girlfriend (which echo the endearments Anna Karenina’s Count Vronsky directs toward his racehorse, before she collapses under his weight and is shot), You Darling Thing investigates bridehood and the concept of the vow through the voices of a variety of brides, ex-brides, courtesans, and wives. The book is ultimately less about marriage than about potentiality and promise, an engagement with what seems possible before it stops being possible—embryos that stay unborn, youthful predictions for a life before it’s lived, and delight in the expressive possibilities afforded by language and art.
SAVAGE BRIDE from You Darling Thing
You need me like ice needs the mountain On which it breeds. Like print needs the page. You move in me like the tongue in a mouth, Like wind in the leaves of summer trees, Gust-fists, hollow except of movement and desire Which is movement. You taste me the way the claws Of a pigeon taste that window ledge on which it sits, The way water tastes rust in the pipes it shuttles throughBeneath a city, unfolding and luminous with industry. Before you were born, the table of elements Was lacking, and I as a noble gas floated Free of attachment. Before you were born, The sun and the moon were paper-thin plates Some machinist at his desk merely clicked into place.