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With an Amy Lowell Line Running through My Head

Suppose we hadn’t met on the grass

at golden hour, sat on a blanket

with Moscato and flowers. Suppose

the flash-flood hadn’t ambushed us,

soaked sidewalk, dripping leaves.

How can I describe the tiny moons

glowing in your eyes? Last week,

a little before first light, we lay

in your bed—white sheets, marbled

comforter—when you said Every time

we have sex, I see colors, your fingertips

climbing the cliff of my shoulder.

That’s never happened

with anyone else. When I watch the sun

set over the ocean, all scent-of-salt,

rising tide, or walk along the bayou

at midday, T-shirt soaked

with sweat, I’m full of words,

know just how to describe

the stuttering contrail, sugared scent

of car exhaust, wild rosemary,

hydrangeas drying out on my dresser.

And, then, thumb tracing

my curls, your brown eyes scraped

against the want in me, your affection

for lilies, suspenders, saved receipts.

Suppose I had known how to say

You take the words from me,

ripple the sureness in me

the way the rain pricked

the puddled roads in last week’s storm.

Lips on my clavicle, morning light

sieving through the trees—

This time, it was orange and green.


The First Night I Slept in Your Bed,

I was tempted to say:

I’ve renamed your calloused palm riverbed.

I have this new theory that:

tree branches are trying to wave to us.

living alone is the emotional equivalent to drowning. Or hypothermia.

I would christen our first-born son Ares.

doesn’t every touch feel like a collision?

I don’t believe in christenings.

the bruises on your chest have turned the color of dusk,

my daily walk, the lump in my throat.

I don’t want to be anyone’s image of pity.

you press against my leg and my mouth becomes a desert.

I think if you’re an ocean wave, then I’m the rock.

if tonight is a monstrous thing, let me see its teeth.


DESPY BOUTRIS's writing has been published or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston and serves as Editor-in-Chief of The West Review.


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