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Common Feast

— Malcolm Tariq

To anyone, I’d tell
how the women of my family cleaned
the innards of pigs in the same way I’ve prepared
for a man to enter me. Both of us—

pig part and human—doused into water
as baptism or with prayer, meant to soak,
to be inspected. Meant to be pulled apart,

made ready to eat, for the mouth’s
bare desire of musical flesh, muscle, tissue.

And to someone familiar, I’d recount
the process of the feast, the stewing,
the pungent scent of intestine engulfing
the afternoon air, taking hostage
our noses for what later soothed the tongue’s
wanting. From this I know that

intimacy is not a clean thing;
it is difficult like this—covert
and common. Bare, as it should be:
someone says I want the mess in you
and you give it to them.

And to no one, I’d confess
that when I give myself to a man, it is rarely
the whole self in the way that it is a whole
body giving into want. At times, I have been

the silky morsel of pork waiting before the mouth.
I have been hunted, given into pursuit
to be made a whole person in need of hunger.
I’ve wanted to be felt this badly. I’ve wanted

to feel something this bad. Intimacy is that
clenched between two cheeks. Both the said
and unsaid. In the middle of the feast

we wonder if this shit is real.


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