Saturday, May 11, 2013

James Shrader - One Poem

When She Comes

First one I remember
it is Christmas Eve. Outside
my bedroom window colored lights are strung
along a bending length of fence in the cool Florida night.
In the morning there will be fog.

Her knees are saddled
against the plates of my pelvis,
anchoring her. Each time her back wall—
where it tents—clamps down on me painfully
her eyelids flutter and her lips part vacantly. Beautiful, she falls
backward a bit, arching as if against a headwind. Impaled
on my modest length of mast, her arms lift outward
as if to catch the wind. Lifting outward
as if crucified. Each time
I have to shake
her awake.

In old Dallas,
in a converted Victorian,
pink curtains filter streetlight
like a scarf draped over a tiffany lamp,
like an ancient house of burlesque.
Atop me she swells.

As an athlete she
excelled, all points of her body
graded on the curve. She leans forward, clasping
her hands behind the base of my skull, elbows finding purchase
in my collarbones. A Muay-Thai fighting clinch. Her wails resonate
through the groaning, antebellum building, and when she spasms, the hiss
and spit of a lawn sprinkler spigot, a warm spray in choppy bursts.
When we rise to survey the damage the pink sheets are stained
wet with the negative impression of my form. The lighter,
dry trunk of my torso forking into two legs.
A crime scene outline,
a massacre.

Central New York
in winter. The frozen mouth
of the Mohawk Valley. The most beautiful, married
mother of two, a born-again Baptist in a town full of Catholics.
If her balding husband were a better Christian
she wouldn’t be doing this,
she says.

Her icy blue
bedroom eyes and swollen,
clichéd lips say otherwise. With me
above her hoisting her hips, the sweetest nectar
branches along the peach fuzz of her lightly scarred navel
then converges in a narrow torrent between her breasts. With her
above me we ruin my roommate’s air mattress, the stuff pooling in the seams,
to my wrist where I support my weight to sit up. We flip over couch
cushions once, then again. Eventually we burn wounds
into our knees and along our spines from the old,
rough carpet. The floor there is wet for days
and cold as outside the snow
piles man-high.

James Shrader's nonfiction has appeared in the Florida Review and Awosting Alchemy.

No comments:

Post a Comment