Thursday, August 5


I dream of your thirst for flushed cheeks
and ragged breathing. I whisper these summons
into my own tangled hair, silver locks strung with keys,
as if in the words I struggle to keep
from their quicksilver tumble from my lips,
in the way I keep my mouth from seeking

a descent, where damned river sinks into this jaded sand,
a song I sing to the tune of October and November and on and on,
as if black apples eaten under cypress trees
and those long-memoried lists of love were no dream;
as if at my demand he will always reach for me, once more

oh beloved, at least once more.

I play at accompaniment, draw him close
to drive him--augment it with roses and char,
with thyme and burning sugar--each song a pale-moon reflection
of how I require one hand at my throat in challenge,
how inexorable in his love,
how he raises my face to his own, so coolly

calculating my every shuddering gasp, how I live
and die for every maddening kiss. These draw us but
the truth is, cold is a game we both can weave so clean
until mouths meet skin, always sweet, a sigh and a smile,
sometimes sharp teeth and ruin,

pretense and authority. He knows this fire, too,
disguises white-hot and trembling in a pale scrim
playing at snow-sheets and shade-trees, my sunrise.
Silk-glass spun, splinters left in my skin and so-sure hand
on me shaking all imperceptible
to any but the pulse I've swallowed, shuddering,

he knows every cataract, cascade, and riptide

running through my veins will be an undoing,
and still it comes singing, still I come singing,
still it comes in fog and rhyme and unmarked depths
to catch us, even aware, bright paper lanterns all alight,
a burning in renunciation of those ashes we already knew.