Michelle Cameron


And if we had kissed
what would have changed?
Would we have moved apart,
slowly, like a '40s movie,
the single, chaste salute
enough to underscore
a lifetime of restraint?
Would we have flung off
our clothes, limbs splayed,
bodies heaving,
rushing, sweat and salt
and liquid caresses,
lips and mouths and tongue?
Would it have changed
us, forever,
made us abandon
everything, hightailed it
in a van packed
with nothing but
our passion and cast-off lives?

I've had errant kisses,
here and there,
unexpected gifts
from unexpected men --
the swoon of being caught
by surprise, of getting something
you've stopped hoping for,
a moment when the world
stills and the air ripples
under his soft lips
and he knows to pull back
just in time.

Would his kiss
have been like that?

Errant kisses don't change anything:
a butterfly alighting
on an early bud, all promise
and glamor,  a frisson
of shock -- but then, a stiff breeze
from the east garden, and
it finds a different perch.

Even the niggling
thought of what
might have been
almost lost to me.
One kiss might
have proved
too many, set us
on a different path,
all briar and thorny rose.
Not having taken
more from him
than a brief brush
of the knee, an arm
about my shoulders,
not having kissed him,

I remember him often,
and in peace.

Date of Birth: June 19, 1958
Location: Chatham, New Jersey
Email: mcameron@gti.net
Website: http://www.noretreat.org/mec/
Publications: Samsara Quarterly, Eclectica, Lips, The Paterson Literary Review, The Physik Garden, The Dakota House Journal, AtomicPetals, The Paumanok Review, Riding the Meridian, Stirring V3:E7, V3:E8, V4:E8
Awards: Editor's Choice Award, Allen Ginsberg Contest; flashquake First Place poetry selection

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