At 22, I Can't Save the World

Hannah Dow
but I can smile
until loving me
is as easy as loving the ocean,
so predictable in the rhythms
of its loneliness. More obedient to men
than moons, I can make myself a dog
and find someone to come to
when called, or show up at his door
in a shade of lipstick that reminds him
of mortality. I can quiet myself
long enough to be the one
he'll sleep next to for two years
in his garage apartment, termite dust
powdering my hair like the snow
in my far-away hometown.

Hannah Dow is the author of Rosarium (Acre Books), and her poems have most recently appeared in Shenandoah, Image, and The Southern Review. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Missouri Southern State University and the Editor-in-Chief of Tinderbox Poetry Journal.