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L. Lamar Wilson

L. Lamar Wilson is the author of Sacrilegion (Carolina Wren Press, 2013), a finalist for the Thom Gunn Award. He teaches at the University of Alabama and in the Mississippi University for Women’s low-residency MFA program. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

By This Poet

1

Nursing

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.