Propped against a tree on a sidewalk next
to the trash cans, shorn of sheets, its fabric
a casing for its coils, harborer of secretions
seeped and dried, its phosphorous surface
glitters abandoned skin flakes in moonlight,
shingles from roof sides of humans. Mucous
trails pearlescent from a snail crawled up
the trunk of the tree upon which this bed
formerly slept on now leans. Loved upon?
Perhaps. Dreamt on most definitely. Hands
on skin most definitely, the stains it harbors
are the trails of dreams, the shotguns aimed
at baby carriages, molars boring holes into
the palm upon which they are cast like dice,
and the mystery of love as scratchy and fine
smelling as the needle tree that carried you
off with its scent of resin: it’s a hideous thing.
Sheet marks on the face won’t disappear into
the water filling the basin. Under the eyes dark
lakes before the resinous reflection of window
cast into mirror by interior lights set against
the night. Do you wonder if I dream of your
shattering? Marks on the face don’t melt into
the water. It would be strange to dream that
hard for a stranger, even for you who became
strange within an hour. Yet, I am waking from
the press of your face against my face. Carried
off over the shoulder, hauled through doorways,
receiving your murder, once this mattress was
bent at its middle, sagged profuse as a gaping
blouse, and bore stains of which I was never
aware while asleep. You knew. You were there
too. You will dream of congress between us.
I withdraw my hand. I refuse. Haul me away.
Copyright © 2019 by Cate Marvin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 15, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
To be in any form, what is that? (Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither,) If nothing lay more develop'd the quahaug in its callous shell were enough. Mine is no callous shell, I have instant conductors all over me whether I pass or stop, They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me. I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy, To touch my person to some one else's is about as much as I can stand.
This poem is in the public domain.
translated by Tracy K. Smith and Changtai Bi
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.
Copyright © 2018 by Tracy K. Smith. Used with the permission of the author.
“The subject of lesbianism is very ordinary;”
— Judy Grahn
in darkness of March’s midnight she is eyes:
moon rays rebound lake ripples to eggplant purple walls
your hands find her body face lies upturned, opened
smaller than weeks prior. She knows you prefer protruding hip bones,
feels hungered for by you, not memory of the boy, her brother
diaphragms guttural groan, cold in body bag not on pleated comforter,
you’ve described your favorite body your type as “heroin skinny”
she knows you like the ripples of her torso but before you knew her brother
also concave trajectory to pelvis bones as drug addict,
loving you is an argument with the impossible.
Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Cooper. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 4, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.