if you say it fast is sounds
like you’re partitioning a
small former African colony.
Which half do you fancy?
the long and winding Rhode,
or the half that puts you at esia?
she’s good in bed
in new england once, she listened
to the crickets, to the mice
to her father and his uncle,
to the police and to the crowd.
and now she listens
to the wind and the traffic
and to the soccer ball on
stones and walls and children’s feet
but there was a time she
listened to his breath
and breathed it back into him
with fire and tongues, oh
tongues of flame.
what was that thing i said
that edge i brought
what was that bit of throat
that i didn’t see
what was the gate you shut
before you shut the gate?
you ask me to remember what you were like
before you loved me. you want to know how
you were and how it was different then.
“show me’, you say
“the texture of the land before the cloudburst.
did i touch your hand and look away?
did i have the heart of the hunter?
the eyes of the hunted”?
you know that you have changed
you know that the world and you are different now
you feel the wetness of all this love
and you have no image of yourself without it
you tap my memory’s shoulder
and ask me for the high and dry truth of you
as if the wave of you had not washed over me
as if i were not soaked and softened
as if i too were not astonished by the thunder.
when you are ready
when you are ready to call out for love
a man will make himself ears to hear you
he will beat scrap metal and chewing gum
into a horn to listen, just listen to you.
when you are ready to reach out for love
a man will weave a line from the shreds
of his own wounds and make a loop.
he’ll throw it just to reach you.
when you are ready to open your self to love
a man will come digging, smelting,
pounding and forging a key that fits, just fits.
and when you think that this is more love
than could ever be, more than you could swallow
a man will turn to you and ask
how he could love you more.
Lynn Hoffman is a cook and a writer. His recent books include Radiation Days:a comic memoir, and Short Course in Beer. He lives in Philadelphia and loves shaggy black dogs.