The Perfect Mistress

      O come, let us sing unto the Lord.

Let him kiss me
with the kisses of song.

Do let him not look upon me.
I am deadly nightshade yielding black
berries, an acquired taste.

Rafters of fir, peeling olea europaea,
fix me in place; small and white inflorescence
pierces my remaining flesh.

And though I want him
to cast lots for my bones,
take what is left of me into his home,

do not let him offer me
the sweet balm of his lips;
this gnarled ghost is mine to surrender.

I do not believe love is love
unless it kills you.

  -Adrienne Lewis