Polycystic Study of Intimacy

But where do the breasts go first is my question.
I understand their fantasies of fleeing south. 

The winters are loud and long and white 
and by March, well. I wonder why I’m still 

in it too. Now the round pits thumb up 
beneath the skin, tender and hot to the touch, 

crushed by my new weight. This island I’ve 
had to make of myself brought a bevy, 

angered by easy pleasures: sugar, soy sauce, 
potatoes, ice cream. My love’s language 

is to make a meal, ask what I can take in, 
ask what maladies to avoid. As for my house:

touch is far and few between. Desire wanes 
between compresses of cloves cinnamon turmeric 

and honey.  But in the mornings, a gulf between us, 
my hands are kissed. The blinds drawn to keep

the sun from disturbing my sleep while we wait 
patiently for my body’s quiet prayer of thanks.

Related Poems

How the Stars Understand Us

...because in the dying world it was set burning.”
                                                            —Galway Kinnell

We are not making love but
all night long we hug each other. 
Your face under my chin is two brown
thoughts with no right name, but opens to
eyes when my beard is brushing you.
The last line of the album playing
is Joan Armatrading’s existential stuff, 
we had fun while it lasted.
You inch your head up toward mine
where your eyes brighten, intense, 
as though I were observer and you
a doppled source. In the blue light
in the air we suddenly leave our selves
and watch two salt-starved bodies
lick the sweat from each others’ lips.
When the one mosquito in the night
comes toward our breathing, the pitch
of its buzz turns higher
till it’s fat like this blue room
and burning on both of us;
now it dies like a siren passing
down a street, the color of blood.
I pull the blanket over our heads
about to despair because I think
everything intense is dying, but you, 
you, even asleep, hold onto all
you think I am, more than I think, 
so intensely you can feel me
hugging back where I have gone. 

Nearly

When we slid out of the lane.

When my sleeve caught fire.

While we fought in the snow.

While the oncologist spoke.

Before the oil spilled.

Before your retina bled.

Beyond the kids at the curb.

Beyond the turn to the forest.

After the forest turned to ashes.

After you escorted my mother out.

As I led your father in.

As the dolphin swam the derelict canal.

While the cameras filmed it dying.

While the blackout continued.

When the plane dipped.

When the bank closed.

While the water.

While the water.

And we drank it.

No One Speaks of How Tendrils Feed on the Fruits

                                                no one speaks of how tendrils feed on the fruits

                        of my demise     these dead hands                  for instance     that alight                phlox

wild strawberry                 and pine             this is my body out of context       rotting in the                wrong hemisphere         

   I died                     so all my enemies would tremble at my murmur                  how it                      populates their homes     

                              so I could say to the nearest fellow dead person        I know more than

      all my living  foes                  I’ve derived sun-fed  design                             for once                             from

                    closing my oak eyes                           now they’ll never snare the civilian

                                                                     pullulating my throat