In May’s gaud gown and ruby reckoning
the old saw wind repeats a colder thing.
Says, you are the bluest body I ever seen.
Says, dance that skeletal startle the way I might.
Radius, ulna, a catalogue of flex.
What do you think you’re grabbing
with those gray hands? What do you think
you’re hunting, cat-mouth creeling
in the mouseless dawn? Pink as meat
in the butcher’s tender grip, white as
the opal of a thigh you smut the lie on.
In May’s red ruse and smattered ravishings
you one, you two, you three your cruder schemes,
you blanch black lurk and blood the pallid bone
and hum scald need where the body says I am
and the rose sighs Touch me, I am dying
in the pleatpetal purring of mouthweathered May.
Karen Volkman, “May” from Spar. Copyright © 2002 by Karen Volkman. Reprinted by permission of University of Iowa Press.
(University of Iowa Press, 2002)
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