MISFIT DOC: How to Compliment a Lover

  1. Live a life of comfortable malaise.
  2. Find a lover that both complicates and soothes the feelings you can’t name or greet.
  3. Think about the word ‘lover’ too often. Think about how it’s used to represent a person that you love daily and actively but also a person that you fuck on a sort-of regular basis with cloistered affection. Decide to base your definition on convenience.
  4. Recognize a misplacement similar to your own when you look at your lover’s face but forget it when you look away.
  5. Allow entropy, which you’ve come to know as the drive to seek union without forming any lexical thoughts about it, to push you and the lover to a neglected couch or slack hammock, both separate from and included in the world. See symbols in everything. Keep the bulk of your bodies parallel and tangential. Keep the right parts perpendicular and grazing.
  6. Decide that you’re going to tell your lover about all the things you admire them. Consider everything you know about misinterpreted feelings, reasons for doing things besides reason, and the art of flattery.
  7. Avoid thinking about the word ‘vulnerability.’
  8. Predict your lover’s reaction based on their heartbeat through their shirt and the pressure of their fingers on your neck.
  9. Stare at the the bridge of your lover’s nose and the tips of their eyelashes. Make it apparent that you’re about to say something important. Inhale and feel it again.
  10. Exhale. Imagine the better opportunities that you’ll actually deserve someday. Imagine scenes with windows and mess more illuminating than this and your voice, soft enough to resound.
  11. Decide to save your compliments for that perfectly absurd moment you are depending on the nonexistence of, observe something too present, and wait.


Kiki Volkert is a bug floating in your glass of water with half-melted ice. She has poems forthcoming in Prelude and lives in New Jersey. 

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