The Question of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A teacher at the chalkboard turns
and imagines pushing desks
together, lowering her body
onto the one whose question
about character and conflict
still lingers in his mouth.

Behind a curtain of textbook and chalk,
she shudders thick and shaded 
inside Jekyll's bones, spine twisting in the hands
of what she thought she'd turned to ash
by the heat of her good intentions.

She unbuttons the hugeness of his coat,
hears her voice gone dwarfish and husky,
feels Jekyll's nausea in her mouth,
Hyde's lust grinding in her molars
while stage crews haul away bridges,
drag in back alleys
and the curtain begins to rise.

It's moments like this,
the director gone for coffee,
stage crew caught with their arms full,
when we know what rises in us unbidden
is woven to us,
more intimate than a lover.

From The Singer's Temple by Barbara Hurd, published by Bright Hill Press. Copyright © 2003 by Barbara Hurd. Reprinted by permission of Bright Hill Press. All rights reserved.