Poems

The Nude

Yi Lei

My eye laps at you in lamplight
Like a white hot tongue. Longing

Draws back, then rises, tidal.

The curtain of my hair
Announces my breasts. Your lips:

A languid breeze. Like a miracle
We feast and feast and nothing is spent.

Let flesh attend to flesh, sex to sex.
O, dexterous gold watch of the universe

On which one minute can straddle
A hundred years.

 

The Erotic Is a Measure Between

Kyle Dargan

Your body is not my pommel horse
nor my Olympic pool or diving board.
Your body is not my personal Internet
channel nor my timeline,
nor my warm Apollo spotlight.
Your body is not my award
gala. Your body is not my game—
preseason or playoffs.
Your body is not my political party
convention. Your body is not
my frontline or my war’s theatre.
Your body is not my time
trial. Your body is not my entrance
exam or naturalization interview.
I am a citizen of this skin—that
alone—and yours is not to be
passed nor won. What is done—
when we let our bodies sharpen
the graphite of each other’s bodies
—is not my test, not my solo
show. One day I’ll learn. I’ll prove
I know how to lie with you without
anticipating the scorecards of your eyes,
how I might merely abide—we two
unseated, equidistant from the wings
in a beating black box, all stage.

 

You Make Love Like the Last Snow Leopard

Paige Taggart

You make love like the last
snow leopard. Time hunts your shadows.
Your grooves dip a real x of an arc.
I love your shadow. It’s performance on the wall.

Your white hair flocked. It’s old age that makes
you kill for food. You bring a long blank to
bed in, the weight draws out.

You need someone with skill for the excursion.
Ride through the reservoir of sour peaches.
Your name meanders through the grass. Tall
people are in the way. I crowd surf to get to you.

You spill me into the flood. Water rushes out your sides.

You make a mystery of playing political love.
I could kill for you. I’d bring you an eagle stuffed
with finches. Its pouch growing large and groaning
in your palm. A cliff of umbrellas and memory
shaping your every move.

 

Safe Sex

Donald Hall, 1928 – 2018
If he and she do not know each other, and feel confident
they will not meet again; if he avoids affectionate words;

if she has grown insensible skin under skin; if they desire
only the tribute of another’s cry; if they employ each other

as revenge on old lovers or families of entitlement and steel—
then there will be no betrayals, no letters returned unread,

no frenzy, no hurled words of permanent humiliation,
no trembling days, no vomit at midnight, no repeated

apparition of a body floating face-down at the pond’s edge