Summer 2022 | Gabriella Fee Reads "Dear Boy" – MQR Sound
I love poems that tread humor and solemnity in equal measure, and Gabriella Fee’s “Dear Boy” delivers in its first three lines, with their brilliant rhyme of “Lenker/hair/underwear.” This is the best kind of elegy: painfully frank, witty in its admissions and associations, and crystalline in its images. In the wake of a breakup, the speaker meditates on death (what is the end of a relationship if not the death of a future with someone?). The speaker finds an answer to their fear of death, finally, in the thought of procreation by a silicon cock—something that might survive the cycle of love and loss, just as it survives the dishwasher cycle. I was moved by this poem and am so excited to see it in MQR’s pages.
Dear Boy, I’m listening to Adrianne Lenker. I’m thinking of cutting my hair. I’m eating a fresh cold fig over the kitchen sink in my underwear while the coffee drips. It’s dark at 7:30. When my mother was twenty-eight, I was four. I woke up this morning still afraid of dying. I know what Heidegger would say. Heidegger who lived a long time. It isn’t fear of death, it’s fear of being dying. Megan says so far one hundred billion people (give or take) have died. I dreamed you were expecting a son named Elio, a name I called you in an older dream, but not a name that stuck. I know you don’t love me anymore. It matters that you’d find me beautiful if we ran into each other. When my hair fell over your face you couldn’t breathe. You said, This is how I want to go. Vanity is fear of death. I’ve pushed the fig like Hopkins’ peach. I’m eating it open-faced, pulp first, licking it off my fingers. The tile is cold too. Ice-rimmed beech leaves tambourine the kitchen window. I’d like to share this chilly feeling with you. You’d cup it in your hands and breathe on it. I wish I’d gotten pregnant by your silicone cock. Then when I die there’d be a piece of me left. A sturdy little girl with a lifetime warranty. Fearless—half mortal, half dishwasher safe.
For more from the Summer 2022 issue of MQR, you can purchase the issue here.