something moved, sparkled
and i began untying knots
nimble fingers rifling through
the jewelry box, digging
deftly sorting rings, hoops
and chains and things with teeth,
gathered them up and plucked
them out, separate as harp strings.
the stories came tumbling then,
and ghosts breathed out, back
into incarnate skin, turned to
dance but stumbled and i went
yellow then green and mango red
to the tango hidden in the licks of violin.
that quick taste masqueraded as a kiss
and burned my mouth like cinnamon.
gypsies know each other by flavor;
we send blackbirds and grackles,
recognize the dark eyes, otherness
and cats with raised hackles, wearing
question marks on their tails as
they approach and sailor, i’d answer you
if i knew who you aren’t, if i could
coax you in by your wind-torn sails.
so make way love, if that isn’t
your name; i still have room enough
to draw the moon-shaped blade
from the stocking top, from the boot
strap, from the winter warm place
i’ve saved for the never-met familiar
whose passion precision hands are
safe enough to draw the down pillow
away from the small of my back and
cup me cozy as an egg with a spoon
as i am so very ready to crack.
i will welcome you in knee-high socks
with garden dirt under my nails, guitar-
scaled, blistered fingertips, blustery-
weathered eyes, laughter on my lips,
arms/legs moved apart, ribs split, ready
for reaching heart. and our language
will whistle-chirp, a bird-like canter
begging to borrow breathing fleshtones
and breaking wanton bones against
that long-dead banter.
i will put my pretty things away, untangled,
become them instead, take tea and call crow,
unblacken the day with blackberried jam bread.
digging deftly sorting rings, hoops and chains
and things with teeth. i will gather you up and
let us be plucked, separate as harp strings
thrumming one warble, liquidly sung.
let me move against you like water . . .
and moisten your avian tongue.
winner of the goodreads poetry contest, first published in the October 2010 newsletter