Wendy Carlisle: Two Poems
Love Poem after Meta Kušar | After Anesthesia
Love Poem after Meta Kušar
There are no forbidden lands in a poem,
A poem begins in a northern city, travels south.
It knows it is lost, drinks some bourbon,
has a cigarette, but it doesn’t feel
guilty about being off the home place.
It enters a swamp, it settles there.
no forbidden flower,
The poem is greedy for your zinnia scent,
wants to roll into the Persian Carpet of your chest.
It wants to bend down to Floss Flowers—the Adriatic,
the Bavaria—to do what I cannot do
to you, as to the spring beds, dig, scoop out.
no forbidden touch.
The poem will not pull away, is brave enough
to bite. It presses its belly on your belly,
brushes length against length,
licks you, puts its wet finger in your mouth. Swollen,
the poem fits itself around your patella.
In the end, there are no monuments. The poem is
at home in huge valleys
where it plants Foxglove for its heart.
It lives also in crowded dirt, smells spicy as a radish.
I have no defense against it.
The poem conquers me with sweat.
Fried green, the summer so much energy went into healing,
my tomatoes never properly got ripe while the neighbors’ Big Toms
swelled ruby on their metal cages, dripped
when bitten, tasted of the mountains I thought of as home.
That July, the soaked afternoons suggested others when,
sick with love, lush with papayas, guavas, I lay
under the laboring GE fan, overheated, my thin white shirt stuck to my skin,
my mind on fall, the cool air slumping down the weather map
a picometer at a time, bringing relief from Canada for the betraying
heat. His breath was on my shoulder then and I was tight and hot
as a milk cow’s udder, waiting for the rain to stop, the house to empty,
for my life to change. Today, I’m too tired to cook,
to wait for the back steps to dry, the yeast to rise. Details confuse me:
cumin, jalepeno, cucumber, tomato, the froth of seeds in the chopper
as each dinner slips away like a slick seed off the edge of the cutting board:
salsa, gazpacho, slices of warm red from the special knives.
What else can I say about the metallic taste, the slow coming awake?
Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in East Texas. Most recently she has appeared on the web in Carnelian, Pedestal, 2River View and in print in Diner and The Monserrat Review. Her book, Reading Berryman to the Dog, was published by Jacaranda Press in 2000.