Collected Stories

Monday, July 15, 2013

The scent of these armpits aroma finer than prayer
                                            —Walt Whitman

After a day of walking through sun-clutched Virginia, you unlatch        
    your wool coat and hang it from the ladder. The sleeves of your            
    blue Oxford rolled back from your wrists.
You yawn and beneath your arms, round stains—dark and greener,    
    as if rubbed with grass. Bitter-smelling, orange and lunchmeat,
the locomotive power of deodorant hurrying after!
And in the night when someone is fucking next door, we close our       
    ears with foam. You fall asleep within minutes. But I carry the               
    night around in my mouth awhile, like dog who has hunted     
    down a bird.
I know your body is a basin.
That after midnight your creases dampen and unleash the waters of
the earth. The oceans, the creeks and channels, the vernal pools!           
    Block Island Sound, Lakes Barkley and Vattern! The    
    Greenland Sea, the Prut River and the Fish, the Red, the              
    James, the Drake! The Strait of Otranto, of Malacca, of                
    Magellan . . .
I put my hand in the shallow bowl of your back and wash the
    wrinkles from my finger.
Some nights I imagine myself a sailor wearing my skin and salt             
    together. This diving suit. I carry a lantern, its flame not of fire               
    but burning ice.
Contained in your sweat a band of sea nettles and jellyfish the                
    color of the moon. An octopus waiting in its den, whole             
    schools of angelfish finning closer!
Sleet hurries its way across the skylight until the glass ends.    
    Something is out there swallowing ships and I welcome it.       
    Take every part of me away! I give you these my lungs. My     
    longest bones, my teeth which I have worn down only with
I find your shoulder under the blanket. I lift it up and swim inside.

Monday, July 1, 2013