Pin it

Because I felt too weak to move
you kindly moved for me, kneeling
and turning, until you could take my breast-tip in the
socket of your lips; and my womb went down
on itself, drew sharply over and over
to its tightest shape, the way, when newborns
nurse, the fist of the uterus
with each, milk, tug, powerfully
shuts. I saw your hand, near me, your
daily hand, your thumbnail,
the quiet ordinary self, when your mouth at my
breast was drawing sweet gashes of come
up from my womb made black fork-flashes of a
celibate’s lust shoot through me. And I couldn’t
lift my head, and you swiveled, and came down
close to me, delicate blunt
touch of your hard penis in long
caresses down my face, species
happiness, calm which gleams
with fearless anguished desire. It found
my pouring mouth, the back of my throat,
and the bright wall which opens. It seemed to
take us hours to move the bone
creatures so their gods could be fitted to each other,
and then, at last, home, root
in the earth, wing in the air. As it finished,
it seemed my sex was a grey flower
the color of the brain, smooth and glistening,
a complex calla or iris which you
were creating with the errless digit
of your sex. But then, as it finished again,
one could not speak of a blossom, or the blossom
was stripped away, as if, until
that moment, the cunt had been clothed, still,
in the thinnest garment, and now was bare
or more than bare, silver wet-suit of
matter itself gone, nothing
there but the paradise flay. And then
more, that cannot be told — may be,
but cannot be, things that did not
have to do with me, as if some
wires crossed, and history
or war, or the witches possessed, or the end
of life were happening in me, or as if
I were in a borrowed body, I
knew what I could not know, did — was
done to — what I cannot-do-be-done-to, so when
we returned, I cried, afraid for a moment
I was dead, and had got my wish to come back,
once, and sleep with you, on a summer
afternoon, in an empty house
where no one could hear us.
I lowered the salt breasts of my eyes
to your lips, and you sucked,
then I looked at your face, at its absence of unkindness,
its giving that absence off as a matter
I cannot name, as if I was seeing not
you but something between us, that can live
only between us. I stroked back the hair in
pond and sex rivulets
from your forehead, gently raked it back
along your scalp,
I did not think of my father’s hair
in death, those oiled paths, I lay
along your length and did not think how he
did not love me, how he trained me not to be loved.

This first appeared on NERVE in 1999.

©1999 Sharon Olds and Nerve