He described her mouth as full of ashes.
So when he kissed her finally
he was thinking about ashes
and the blacker rim just below
the edge of the ashtray,
and the faint dark rim that outlined her lips,
and the lips themselves, at the limit
of another darkness, farther
and far more interior.
Then the way the red,
paling, just outside those lines
caught fire and the pages caught
soon after that. Slowly at first,
but then all at once
at the scalloped brown corners of each;
like the ruff of an offended and darkening bird,
extended, then folded
in on itself; multiple,
Susan Stewart, “In the Novel” from The Hive. Copyright © 1987 by Susan Stewart. Reprinted with the permission of The University of Georgia Press.
Source: The Hive
(University of Georgia Press, 1987)