Blood Sex

And when we are finished, I ask
            if she thinks us grotesque,
two plain monsters basking
            in our blood—our liquid plaque.

We celebrate the art of
            our unmaking. She spirals my body
into a single drop, ambrosia
            spoiled by the Gods. I copy

the signature of her sin-
            ged moan, grind it down
until it becomes my own dim
            map. Even the Gods fuck. Crown

themselves in gardens pastored
            by snakes. I am crying. Not out of shame
but out of tradition. To have mastered
            this want, only to carve for it a lock, a name

as queer as unholy. How queer it fits
            inside the mouth, how queer is my woman
and the sweat she makes of me, a sweet trick
            of her tongue. Don’t we deserve a hand-

made altar. Don’t we deserve a crowd
            of worshipers to carry our bed. And yes
please to the beads, the sacred
            wars, the body ornaments, the vain-eyed

statues pulsing deep with our flood.
            Yes to the orchestrated violence, a quiver
licked down my spine. May our love blood
            the skies like a storm of Gods high off terror.

O Zeus. O Oshun. O Ra. O Kali. O Me. O Her. O Gods—God? 
            Yes. Gods. Don’t act like you don’t know our names’ roar.
Whispered. Sweet and savage inside your temples.
            Preserved behind velvet doors.

Copyright © 2023 by Crystal Valentine. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 23, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.