by Despy Boutris


When cornfield. When cathedral.

When creaking floorboards 


and open windows. When want 

rivers through me, escape 


into the morning mist, 

stomp down to the bank,


try to drown in the lake

and call it baptism. Wish 


to wipe my lips of it, 

this desire to ripen in the bowl 


of her mouth, musk 

and staggering breath. When lying 


on the floor of the barn.

When thighs turns to braille. 


When skipping stones

into the stream. When the air tastes 


of straw. When looking up

at the sky, the rising sun,


the dust motes constellating the air,

fingers thrust into the earth,


dirt invading the thumb sliced open

while cutting a peach. 


When slaughter. When palms sting 

with wood-splinters,


an excuse to touch. 

When venus-bone to venus-bone,


a groan. Silt soiling my hands.

When bare feet squelch fallen apricots.


When she asks how her mouth tastes, 

say wildfires.


When smoke escapes the mouth

of the forest, walk toward it.

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