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Michael Lally

Michael Lally is the author of several books of poetry, including Swing Theory (Hanging Loose Press, 2015); March 18, 2003 (Libellum, 2004); It Takes One to Know One (Black Sparrow Press, 2001); and It’s Not Nostalgia (Black Sparrow Press, 1999), winner of the American Book Award. He’s also the recipient of the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey.

By This Poet

1

Forbidden Fruit

all the forbidden fruit I ever 
dreamt of--or was taught to 
resist and fear--ripens and 
blossoms under the palms of my 
hands as they uncover and explore 
you--and in the most secret 
corners of my heart as it discovers 
and adores you--the forbidden fruit 
of forgiveness--the forbidden fruit 
of finally feeling the happiness 
you were afraid you didn't deserve-- 
the forbidden fruit of my life's labor
--the just payment I have avoided 
since my father taught me how-- 
the forbidden fruit of the secret 
language of our survivors' souls as 
they unfold each others secret 
ballots--the ones where we voted 
for our first secret desires to come 
true--there's so much more
I want to say to you--but for 
the first time in my life I'm at 
a loss for words--because 
(I understand at last) 
I don't need them 
to be heard by you.