Early Autumn

No words for
the colors on
this fiery hillside,

so that I do not
move to take

even one
but rather hold

each muscle
still to breathe
deep the delicate

scent of evening
as elegance carves
its name into the

part of my brain
that stores such
things, which must

be near the place
for love, because
I think of you then

and the way we
write our names
on the body

of one another,
the taste of living
on our lips,

as all the words
into colors.


I have done my clinging
to the wild rocks
of the Atlantic,

made my shell
to withstand fierce tides,
the strong stuff of bone.

Love is a riddle
with the answer inside.
I am young and ancient,

salt and cell,
I offer you a taste
of what is in me,

current and swell,
morsel of an understanding
excites and terrifies,

you cannot deny.
It takes courage
to hold something so delicate.

I have no pearl,
though there are secrets here
within each fold

and ripple.
Open your lips
to the living ocean,

swallow me
until there is nothing
left between us, and cast my shell

into the never ending sea
where everything
and everything began.

Laboratory of the Feminine

I make my bed different
when I know a visitor
will be calling,

launder these white
sheets to a soft crispness,
pull them from the dryer

before they have wrinkled,
and hang them on the line.
I wash different

when I know
I will be touched.
I lather. I smooth.

I oil.
I pat dry.
I rifle

through drawers
for the skimpiest
and the most

I make extra trips
to the closet. I search

between the hangers
for what might suit
my belly

and my back,
my hip flesh
and the season.

I take my time.
I know
what you like.

I pay attention
to your eyes,
the hitch

in your breath
when I brush by.
I embellish

your pleasures
with my nakedness

A ritual
of a lifetime.
I watched

and I read,
I guessed, I gleaned,
I studied and I tested

in my laboratory
of the feminine.
I carefully examined

the data. I see
what you see
before you do

on an endless loop
of sensual efforting
and physical feedback.

And when you lay me down
on these pillows
sprayed with jasmine,

I am your independent
variable and you
are my hypothesis.

I enter your senses,
like you enter me,
searching for

sum totals
for all that is whole
and all that is broken.