Two poems by Olivia Buntaine

Mar 1, 2023 | 2023 Spring - Bodily Autonomy, Privacy, and Choice, 2, Poetry

The Not-Want

To separate from someone
Whom you love
Is an act of patriotism
If they are your country

This is hard to understand but
We have to leave our homes
To grow—at one point or another
Especially if we are planning on returning

You, love, are my country
You are my values, my land, my shelter
Belonging to you fills me with pride
And no matter how far I go from you
I want everyone I encounter to know
That you are where I came from

You are where I came from
Your tongue what I learned to speak
Your landscapes where I first
Looked into the forest and knew
How small and sacred I was

I told you once
When air is all around you
It gets hard to remember

I do not want to go far from you
(The not-want is so deep)
But I guess this is learning
To love you
from inside and outside of you


I ask God to send me a man I can have sex with
Maybe even one I could love
(holy one, let me experiment with heteronormativity)

And she gives me another gender queer lesbian


Based in New York and Los Angeles, Olivia Buntaine (she/her) works in the worlds of queerness, girlhood, survivorship, and mythology —mostly by writing plays and poems. Catch her at, or her theatre company at

Related Articles


By strega clare manning slurping soft udon before we use our warm lips to utter the word “bi,” in the backseat of your car, idling in front of my dorm. the roots wrapped around my aorta would not budge until i dared to water them with shades of openness, the promise...

read more

Writing a Love Poem at Taco Bell About

By Michaela Mayer how your smile is backlit with the radiance of the purple now hiring sign, no wage advertised, and how you tell me write something different as you bite into the golden shell of your chalupa—you’re poor and i teach, so we’re eating here today. how...

read more

The Present

By Nicole Swisher In my daydreams, I see her: a woman as round as I am, as soft, with an awkward, nervously overtalkative charm that matches my own. I am sitting at my desk, penning another novel (the word another here is important, because in this daydream, I have...

read more