Poetry

Extramarital: A Sonnet Sequence

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Scotch and Soda

The front door slipped from its latch and he

came in — the man you’re married to and love.

He knows about this Us, this you-and-me,

and it is for his sake that words like “love”

and “tomorrow” don’t flow between us easily

when the disk slips into the groove on the CD

player and your shirt lifts above your head,

my ice settling in my glass, the beads

of sweat from the summer heat rising

on our skin. Here the truth is surprising

even to me: I don’t mind what we don’t

say, what you can’t feel. “I love you” is scary.

I mean something lighter. What I want:

Lay with me — wide-eyed, wary.

                       

  


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©2000 Jenny Factor and Nerve Publishing

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Rubyfruit

You kissed my mouth as if it were my sex

before you kissed me everywhere, before

that night in Rubyfruit’s, my glasses off,

the room elided, darkness stretched, a blur

zip-studded by red pinlights, hemmed and held

a cloth we had no future written on.

Around us, well-dressed women stirred the darkness

as they walked. The bar’s cold black streak streamed

past willows, necks swayed in to sup and speak.

I learned the map of textures on your cheek.

Benched near the place where others knit limbs, lives,

my body’s affirmation — a surprise

to our established friendship. You confessed —

amazing humming of my flesh’s yes.

  

                       

  

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Playing Doctor

Yes, my love, I’m yours. I’ll give myself

over to your teasing, tender care

to let you open me, deliberate,

your hand, a scientist whose probing dares

to peel the blossom budded thirty years

in silence. I wake like a newborn, tears

of trust and outrage, wet and cold and bared.

What will be born of us when you have dared

to lift my fetal, embryonic heat

towards your nipples on my floral sheets?

What climax will our drumming raise us towards?

When we make love, new love, what will be made?

In that place, exposed, exhausted, laid,

if I’m with you, I will not feel afraid.

  

                       

  

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“Now what can we do for my Pretty?” you ask…

Sometimes I touch my breasts and think of you.

Sometimes as if my body were your own

private kingdom, I don’t want my own

hands to touch myself after you

leave the room. It’s like you lock me from myself

by going away. Inside my insides,

I am half-awake, half-opened. From your side

of New York, the Great Woods, you check your shelf

for potions, ivories, hairpieces, sleek combs

to knit my hair around when you return.

Oh mistress, busy worldly woman, turn

the bolt; return to me; set your combed

nape in my lap. Kiss me till the fine

evening turns a deep flush, like your skin, mine.

  

                       

  

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Misapprehension

I don’t want you to always act your age:

Fall apart a little for me please

so when I kiss your mouth, your brow, your creamy

arms, your downy neck, eyelids, your strange

intense dark copper-lidded eyes that close

against me, when I hold you till your whole

strut length of spine releases to my holding,

when I lay you, stroke your guiltless rose

open toward me, ages overturned,

I don’t want you to act your age, just yearn

toward what I offer; soften to my touch,

let me reach the place where you give milk,

suck and tongue you till my touch is much,

much more than youth or age or silk on silk.

  

                       

  

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Adrift

Curled up in my arms like a small boy,

you took my breast into your hungry lips

and met my eye and smiled, nursing child,

and cried into my lap when you had come

too many times for your skin to endure

more touch and cried and cried till you were done

while I said, Si si si . . . as to my son’s

despondent nighttime-waking. Dream-wracked, dear,

your rosy body swam through sweetness, tears

on the black sheets of your bed in the ambient light

of two candles. Like a ship sailing to a shore

we’ve never reached before, we sailed each other

leg over leg, your back washed up against my breasts

till your son’s door opened and we dressed.

  

                       

  

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Safer Sex?

So no more nipples? (post-lactation leak)

and winter comes like sandpaper to lips

who now keep their chaste distance from my lips.

Of course my palm may stroke your nether cheek

as long as I wear gloves for full descent

into the place you want my dig and thrust.

Sex, you call this. I say, lack of trust.

You say I’m inching toward an argument.

I call your latex, Safe Sex for the Heart.

I want to find your mouth on me, the taste

of you, familiar, moving with my tongue.

You’ve come. Neglected, handled and unstrung,

I stay in bed and watch you dress in haste.

I’ve lost more than one sense without your taste.

  

                       

  

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Confidential P.S.

So now when we make love, what have we made?

Not “life” although our blossoming belies

a simple definition of mere breath

and heartbeat. Surely something is implied

we do not make: not home, not spouse, not child

(though sometimes I am yours or you are mine

in ways that seem to posit us en-womb).

When others speak of loving to create

a life, we know we’ll never share a room

for more than hours running. Yes. I mind

this making time by time and lay by lay

a stay against the current of our days.

Real work that moves no rivers. Mother, wife,

we live out elsewhere. Love knitting no life.

  

                       


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