The History of Silk
In seventh grade, when we were alone for An afternoon, no chance of being caught, Silk was what we sought in our sisters’ rooms. It was enough to hold silk and name girls Who were slipping off the slick things we touched: Pajamas, panties, lace-trimmed slips with straps Designed to be nudged by passionate hands. Three or four together in those bedrooms, We turned alike, drawing silk things over Our skin like fingertips, lifting our shirts, Opening our pants in dark unisons Of desire that made us refold those things Exactly, replacing them in order Until the afternoon one of us slid That silk over his head to bring himself Closer to pleasure, and he did, though none Of us would touch or talk to him, the words For his transformed body disappearing Like faith long before any of us knew The quiet history of silk, the way Taming turned the silkworms from tan to white. The way, defenseless, but unharmed, they stopped Trying to escape. The way, become moths, They didn’t fly, how they mated and died, Without once opening their damp, pale wings.
from Standing around the Heart. The University of Arkansas Press 2005.