Nerve Classics

Four Poems by Charles Simic

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Small Feast

Naked at the table,
Face to face,
Eating grilled squid
With our hands.
She licks olive oil
And minced garlic
Off her fingers
One by one.
Eat some bread, I say.
She just laughs at that,
A hot pepper flake stuck
On the tip of her tongue.


The Palace

I built a palace under my blanket,
For the two of us
To cozy up
In the wavery twilight.
The palace like a bird cage
Made of sighs,
Or like the sound of a snowflake
Falling in the sea.
The way you pull at my hair
And then muffle your cries,
You may be seeing white mice
Running around your throne.


Stray Dogs

The way we stripped and embraced in that field,
A few stray dogs came by
To see what our moaning was all about.
I saw their worried eyes
As I parted your legs with kisses.
And then your tongue around mine,
And you pulled my hair till it hurt,
And there were broken blue flowers
Under your white ass and four mutts
Sniffing around us in wonder.


Grand Theatrics

I went down on my knees
And begged
Miss Hands-on-Her-Hips
For one little treat
Out of the folds
Of her loose-fitting robe,
Short and belted
Negligently at the waist.
A lick at the cross
Between her titties,
While she dangles
One red slipper in midair,
Her get-the-hell-out-of-here-
Coming in short gasps.

“Small Feast” and “Stray Dogs” first appeared in Canada in the literary magazine Descant. This story originally ran on Nov. 25th 1998. Charles Simic and ©1998.