You map my cheeks in gelatinous dark, your torso floating, a forgotten moon, and a violin crosses the sheets while you kiss me your mouth of castanets. I believed once my uncles lived in trees, from the encyclopedia I’d carried to my father, The Philippines, the Ilongot hunting from a branch, my father’s chin in shadows. I try to tell you about distance, though my body unstitches, fruit of your shoulder lit by the patio lamp, grass of you sticky with dew, and all our unlit places folding, one into another. By dead night: my face in the pillow, your knuckles in my hair, my father whipping my back. How to lift pain from desire, the word safety from safe, me, and the wind chatters down gutters, rumoring rain. I graze your stubble, lose my edges mouthing your name. To love what we can no longer distinguish, we paddle the other’s darkness, whisper the bed, cry the dying violet hour; you twist your hands of hard birches, and we peel into our shadows, the losing of our names.
L. Lamar Wilson
When you ask where I want it, the knife you’ve made of your tongue—so swollen & hard it fills the empty spaces left by bicuspids, lost to excess of sweet, to child Or adult play—I say nothing, only nudge your lips from the tip of my nose past My own, to the dark forest of my chin, where I dare you to find, blanketed in lavender, Peppermint, & oud, the dimple a rock cleft decades ago. You who are not the one Who’s named me Ma, you who are young enough to have made a cougar of my mother & old enough to have sired me as you crammed for the Alabama bar. That fat tongue You wave traces my beard’s amber & frankincense trail from neck to clavicle, & when You’ve left your mark there, where we’ve agreed you may first suck the cursèd river Coursing to stain my flesh’s surface redder, where only I’ll see it long after you’ve departed, You let the perfumed purse you’ve gathered inside your mouth drip onto my meager chest’s Tiny right eye, dilating now, begging like a young bud waiting to bloom for mourning dew. You blow as it swells, then latch & shower it in wet expectation. Make of me, sweet lord, The mother of some new nectar we misbegotten ones can nurse inside & pass from breast To breast. Make of this hallowed hearth in my chest a pulsing womb, an isthmus to anywhere but Here—where bare backs kiss this floor’s knotted tiles & your cedar bed towers—so far from home.