Best of the Net 2011  

The Silk Road Epistles

I stood by the road and smelled your skin
on merchants and missionaries entering the city.

You sent letters written in a celestial alphabet
that confessed, Dear savage kisser,

my heart is always. One day you arrived
offering cocoons and mulberry leaves,

and we sighed together in our mutual loneliness.
I discovered your body split by a meridian

of burning nerves, so I only kissed half of you.
That night you stared past me at the single shadow

we formed on the wall, and the next morning
you were gone. Dear pleasure,

Dear darkest fruit, my heart divides
and divides and is not yours
. I saw a door

in water and a door in stone and a door just beyond
the cliffŐs edge. I went to erase the hours

I mistook pleasure for happiness. Always my bones
knit back together. Always my heart fails

to release me. New letters arrive to say,
Dear memory, the old pleasure

is the enemy of the new
. The courierŐs
shaking hand smells like ginger and raw silk.

- Traci Brimhall (from inter|rupture)