You called it screwing, what we did nights
on the rug in front of the mirror, draped
over the edge of a hotel bed, on balconies
overlooking the dark hearts of fir trees
or a city of flickering lights. You'd
whisper that word into my ear
as if it were a thing you could taste---
a sliver of fish, a swirl of chocolate
on the tongue. I knew only
the rough exuberant consonant
of fucking, and this soft s and hard c
was a new sound---querulous, slow,
like the long moments of leaving
between thrusts. I don't know what
to make of it, now that you're gone. I think
of metal eating wood. Delicate filaments
quivering inside a bulb of thin glass.
Harsh light. Corks easing up through
the wet necks of wine bottles. A silver lid
sealed tight on a jar of skinned plums.
I see two blue dragonflies hovering, end
to end, above a pond, as if twisting
the iridescence deep into each other's
body, abdomens writing, spiraling
into the wing-beaten air. And your voice
comes back to me through the trees, this word
for what we couldn't help but do
to each other---a thin cry, unwinding.
The Word © 2000 by Dorianne Laux. Reproduced from Smoke
Poems by Dorianne Laux, with the permissin of BOA Editions, Ltd.
Date of Birth: 1/10/52 Location: Eugene, Oregon Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://cityhonors.buffalo.k12.ny.us/city/rsrcs/eng/auth/laux.html Publications: Awake, What We Carry, Smoke, (BOA Editions) and The PoetUs Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton) Awards: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1990, 2001), Best American Poetry 1999, Pushcart Prize, Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award