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.

Related Poems

Touched by Dusk, We Know Better Ourselves

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.