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

Secrets and Safety

By Fatima As I gaze outside my window I am reminded of my crimes all the warning signs my short-sighted copyrights tweets and receipts used against me. I could not go outside and I could not speak and I could not stay here alone as I need to be alone because I wear...

read more

screen time for two

By Sarah Patterson it all comes down to a comment below, i’ll be lower still who am i if not split in two? subscription to someone else’s life somehow both are me somehow both are you i am a follower, not an interaction link to every want, a never need jia tolentino...

read more

Digital awakening

By Bojana In the shelter of the web’s embrace, A realm both vast, both virtual and base, I wandered, lost, in forums, chats, and sites, Seeking self amidst the countless bytes. In the glow of screens, both young and old, A question loomed, a story yet untold. Was my...

read more