The moon assumes her voyeuristic perch
to find the rut of me, releashed from sense,
devoid of focus ’cept by your design.
I never thought restraint would be my thing.
Then you: the hole from which my logic seeps,
who bucks my mind’s incessant swallowsong
& pins the speaker’s squirming lyric down
with ease. You coax a measured flood, decide
the scatter of my breath & know your place—
astride the August heat, your knuckles tight
around a bratty vers, a fuschia gag:
you quiet my neurotic ass, can still
the loudness murmuring beneath my skull.
Be done. There’s nothing more to say.


Copyright © 2023 by Imani Davis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 3, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I’ve been thinking a lot about BDSM play and experimentation with strict poetic form as delightfully parallel vehicles for personal rapture. As I see it, both practices combine passion and constraint to achieve an intentional experience of aesthetic and erotic pleasure. Here, the speaker’s addressee is in triplicate: ‘You’ meaning the speaker’s lover; ‘you’ meaning the sonnet form (and form in general); and ‘you’ meaning BDSM. At the poem’s closing, the established metrical pattern is willingly surrendered, obeying the italicized voice of the speaker’s dom. (P.S. I also threw in a nod to ‘Poem’ by Langston Hughes.)”
Imani Davis