Roman Triptych


Red stones piled in square towers.
Red roads cruise aqueducts.
Blue chain by the door
strikes a bell.

From our gold-draped room
the windows with their astragals and sashes
glass out the bottle-green hills.

I hold her naked on the carpet,
my body spilling
out of my lavender dress.

Body, if you could be forever
spilling out of your lavender dress.



Twin redheads fondle twin
Barbies, sliding sateen dresses
on and off the dolls’ voluptuous physiques.
I tread on a grate and in a cloud
of vertiginous steam see in a store window my hands
disappearing under a mannequin’s skirt.
The noise of a drill down the avenue
like whipped cream shooting from a can.



My hair tangles her fingers
till I unknot it, and I unknot it
as I’ve done many things
to detach myself
from pleasure.

She says the words I use remind her
that she is reading a poem,
referring to the above vertiginous

Reader, I want you to know you are reading a poem.

What is the point of talking otherwise?




Excerpted from GRAND TOUR: Poems by Elisa Gonzalez. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Copyright © 2023 by Elisa Gonzalez. All rights reserved.