For Donovan by Sarah O’Brien

For Donovan

by Sarah O’Brien

Your pants are made from the softest fabric.
You challenge me to a game of chess.
“You didn’t use your Queen enough,” you say
after winning, and I soak in this metaphor.

I was too focused on someone else’s King.
I overlooked mine—left you exposed.
Your wounds from her violence linger,
and you mistrust even me.

I ask my angels for a deeper patience.
I resist the tendencies of Past Sarah,
fearful of abandonment and change.
In a dream, we convene and toast disaster.

I press my lips gently against your arm.
You recoil at some of my touches, after her.
Sorrowful pavement, I rebuild our road.
I invite you over for a home-cooked meal.


Sarah O’Brien is a poet from Massachusetts. She is the author of Shapeshifter and Just for Us (forthcoming 2023). Sarah teaches, makes art, and performs comedy in Nebraska currently. She cares for three black cats. Follow her on social media @fluent_saracasm.