Flirtation

By Rita Dove b. 1952 Rita Dove
After all, there’s no need
to say anything

at first. An orange, peeled
and quartered, flares

like a tulip on a wedgewood plate
Anything can happen.

Outside the sun
has rolled up her rugs

and night strewn salt
across the sky. My heart

is humming a tune
I haven’t heard in years!

Quiet’s cool flesh—
let’s sniff and eat it.

There are ways
to make of the moment

a topiary
so the pleasure’s in

walking through.

Rita Dove, “Flirtation” from Museum (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1983). Copyright © 1983 by Rita Dove. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Poetry (October 1982).

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This poem originally appeared in the October 1982 issue of Poetry magazine

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October 1982
 Rita  Dove

Biography

Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952, the daughter of one of the first black chemists in the tire industry. Dove was encouraged to read widely by her parents, and excelled in school. She was named a Presidential Scholar, one of the top one hundred high-school graduates in the country and attended Miami University in Ohio as a National Merit Scholar. After graduating, Dove received a Fulbright to study at the University of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Relationships, Romantic Love

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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