First Kiss

By Kim Addonizio b. 1954 Kim Addonizio
Afterwards you had that drunk, drugged look
my daughter used to get, when she had let go
of my nipple, her mouth gone slack and her eyes   
turned vague and filmy, as though behind them   
the milk was rising up to fill her
whole head, that would loll on the small
white stalk of her neck so I would have to hold her   
closer, amazed at the sheer power
of satiety, which was nothing like the needing
to be fed, the wild flailing and crying until she fastened   
herself to me and made the seal tight
between us, and sucked, drawing the liquid down   
and out of my body; no, this was the crowning
moment, this giving of herself, knowing
she could show me how helpless
she was—that’s what I saw, that night when you   
pulled your mouth from mine and
leaned back against a chain-link fence,
in front of a burned-out church: a man
who was going to be that vulnerable,
that easy and impossible to hurt.

Kim Addonizio, “First Kiss” from What Is This Thing Called Love. Copyright © 2004 by Kim Addonizio. Reprinted with the permission of W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., www.nortonpoets.com.

Source: What Is This Thing Called Love (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 2004)

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Poet Kim Addonizio b. 1954

Subjects Relationships, Love, Nature, The Body, Realistic & Complicated

 Kim  Addonizio

Biography

Kim Addonizio was born in Washington DC, the daughter of a former tennis champion and a sports writer. She attended college in San Francisco, earning both her BA and MA from San Francisco State University, and has spent much of her adult life in the Bay Area. She currently lives and teaches workshops in Oakland, California. Addonizio has received numerous awards for her work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Nature, The Body, Realistic & Complicated

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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