Kamal E. Kimball


When I was a child, scouting my tiny desire,
I peered through the windows, the longings 

of others. I knew that I would jaw some open, 
knew that I would someday spread to the limits 

set by skin. My hands knew what they wanted 
before I knew the weight of want. 

Then I knew throb, the struggle 
of unbordered night, eagerness that fogs. 

Desire pearled in on me, beaded, feathered. 
I practiced desire, gave her a name 

and forgot it. Grew pale-faced as the stars
that I would soon reject as shining aberrations. 

Later, I listened at other windows 
more and more and more for the beating 

of something urgent, wing-like. I desired
permanence but just got off instead

growling into the dusk with mistakes of flesh.
I strained against the limits. I understood 

little of the wild growing glutton heart, wrecking 
along and catching, sometimes, an acceptable light. 

I have desired the kiss of everyone, thirsted 
to trap forever, to merge into gunpowder mist. 

I have been alone since I can remember, since before 
I bulleted from the other into the body made. 

I’ve desired only what can’t be had. What I have 
is my hunger. I have it, it’s mine. I have 

stumbling, begging for a mouth to make me. 

Kamal E. Kimball is an Ohio poet. A production editor for The Journal and reader for Muzzle Magazine, her work has been published or is forthcoming in Inverted Syntax, Phoebe, Hobart, Juked, Rattle, Tahoma Literary Review, Raleigh Review, Sundog Lit, Bone Parade, Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, Forklift Ohio, and elsewhere. More at kamalkimball.com