Monday, February 14, 2005

One chemical crossroad after another

Love is one chemical crossroad after another. ~Aucassin Verdé

How Do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways.

I love thee in the filigree of angels’ wings, the porcelain cracks
of heaven still visible in their blemished patinas between the roseate figures blushing in the palm prints on your fine derriere.

I love thee on the stairs, naked in half-light, thy delicate panties
pulled to one side for the envelope of penetration to ensconce
its lilied prize, unconcerned with open windows or passing neighbors.

I love thee in the infinite patterns of our relationship, the dropped
stitches of its never-ending handiwork, the needled point after point looping along like a circular zipper closing an open need over and over.

I love thee in the hollows of motel walls, the muffled yowl of faceless pillows at the moment of absolute truth, when Caesar stands firm in the box to raise an imperial thumb, forsaken lions and sated Christians strewn about the dying linen.

I love thee in the sidewise glance of another woman, the subtexture of lips opened just so, the lingered trace of a trailing finger down an unbuttoned blouse, or the slipping sweat of an iced-trickled glass pooling buckets of pure intent across a gleaming table.

How I do love thee.

I love thee in the hours of our absence, the candless bleeding of midnight ink aweep on sheets of coarse paper, the kissless ache of days unheld, unknown in the Leviticus sense of deified love, rapeless in the withheld hand of a common word.

I love thee in the nag of chores yet undone, the misspent efforts of achievement and lassitude, sleep and a siren couch, the happy enticement of afternoons when yards summon labor, errands command obedience, lists lie unchecked on clean countertops.

I love thee in the savor of evening scents, desert sage mixed with the sear of chicken and barbecued beans, the sawing slice of shepherd’s bread and shuck-buttered corn, the fragrance of your hurried skin as you pass from table to stove to nightfall’s dessert.

And I love thee in the quiet eaves of summer storms, the blue flash of simmered eyes as distant fire erupts along the flat black horizon with skydrums and thunderskins, the sound rolling over us in the warm air as we huddle in the cool cleave of our stillness.

Joseph Gallo
January 2002


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