Séverine in Summer School

By Rex Wilder Rex Wilder
Naked for twenty-four of our last thirty-six   
Hours together, and I mean museum-quality, sex-   
Shop, God-riddling naked, sapping gold   
Light from the windows of her hundred-year-old   
Baltimore dorm, we were hungry for selling   
Points, like a couple in a showroom. Compelling   
Arguments were made to close the deal   
And children were discussed. I kissed her from heel   
To head in a shower without water;   
Then with. Nude, she read me a letter as a waiter   
Would his specials, and I couldn't keep   
My eyes off: smooth shoulders, belly, pelvis,   
Deep olive skin all a balm against sleep.   
It was from her sexy grandmother in Dieppe   
And Séverine translated, both of us   
Somehow drawn to this third party in a tidal   
Sort of way, her lunar candor, her antipodal   
Ease with words and the world. We were difficult,   
Séverine and I, a beautiful strain, a cult   
Of two. Even eating, we made lots of noise.   
Even resting in bed, watching the trees,   
Our lighter breathing, our limb-shifting, sheet-   
Rustling, even our dreaming had fight.   
Her heart was exceptionally loud—not with love,   
But with knowing. Knowing what to be afraid of.

Source: Poetry (September 2004).


This poem originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

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September 2004


Rex Wilder's work has appeared in Poetry, the TLS, the Yale Review, and the Nation. He is a former editorial assistant for Poetry.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, School & Learning, Love, The Body, Activities, Nature, Relationships, Coming of Age, Men & Women, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Imagery, Free Verse

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