Food of Love

By Carolyn Kizer 1925–2014 Carolyn Kizer

Eating is touch carried to the bitter end.                                             
                                             Samuel Butler II 

I’m going to murder you with love;
I’m going to suffocate you with embraces;
I’m going to hug you, bone by bone,
Till you’re dead all over.
Then I will dine on your delectable marrow.
 
You will become my personal Sahara;
I’ll sun myself in you, then with one swallow
Drain your remaining brackish well.
With my female blade I’ll carve my name
In your most aspiring palm
Before I chop it down.
Then I’ll inhale your last oasis whole.
 
But in the total desert you become
You’ll see me stretch, horizon to horizon,
Opulent mirage!
Wisteria balconies dripping cyclamen.
Vistas ablaze with crystal, laced in gold.
 
So you will summon each dry grain of sand
And move toward me in undulating dunes
Till you arrive at sudden ultramarine:
A Mediterranean to stroke your dusty shores;
Obstinate verdure, creeping inland, fast renudes
Your barrens; succulents spring up everywhere,
Surprising life! And I will be that green.
 
When you are fed and watered, flourishing
With shoots entwining trellis, dome, and spire,
Till you are resurrected field in bloom,
I will devour you, my natural food,
My host, my final supper on the earth,
And you’ll begin to die again.

Carolyn Kizer, “Food of Love” from Cool, Calm & Collected: Poems 1960-2000. Copyright © 2002 by Carolyn Kizer. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Cool, Calm & Collected: Poems 1960-2000 (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

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Poet Carolyn Kizer 1925–2014

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Love, Desire, Romantic Love, Relationships

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

 Carolyn  Kizer

Biography

Poet, essayist, and translator Carolyn Kizer was born in 1925 in Spokane, Washington. Raised by a prominent lawyer and highly educated mother, Kizer’s childhood was suffused with poetry. Of her development as a poet, she noted to the Poetry Society of America: “My parents were both romantics: father favored the poems of Keats; mother went for Whitman. No evening of my childhood passed without my being read to. But I think my . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Romantic Love, Relationships

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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