Woman, I Got the Blues
I’m sporting a floppy existential sky-blue hat
when we meet in the Museum of Modern Art.
Later, we hold each other
with a gentleness that would break open
ripe fruit. Then we slow-drag
to Little Willie John, we bebop
to Bird LPs, bloodfunk, lungs paraphrased
till we break each other’s fall.
For us there’s no reason the scorpion
has to become our faith healer.
Sweet Mercy, I worship
the curvature of your ass.
I build an altar in my head.
I kiss your breasts & forget my name.
Woman, I got the blues.
Our shadows on floral wallpaper
struggle with cold-blooded mythologies.
But there’s a stillness in us like the tip of a magenta mountain.
Half-naked on the living-room floor;
the moon falling through the window
on you like a rapist.
Your breath’s a dewy flower stalk
leaning into sweaty air.
“The Thorn Merchant’s Mistress,” “The Thorn Merchant’s Wife” and
“Woman, I Got the Blues” from
Neon Vernacular by Yusef Komunyakaa ?1993, Wesleyan Press by permission of the University Press of New England.