Indiscriminate Kisses

Foreplay of obscene graffiti carved
into trees—foot-long boners
gouge the bark. Beaks and snouts
on a restroom mirror. Slick lips.
Succulent lips. I go out among them
sometimes. So sweet how they pucker up
out of pity. A practiced pathos
in a saloon of woodsmen whose axes
wait in trucks out back. Lips full of yawn

or yes. Lips thick with God-spit
and God-suck. Chapped lips, bloody lips.
Pierced or tattooed, they pout
into view—here to give, willy-nilly,
what's been too long held in the body.
Something passes across tongues. It sayeth not
a name; it taketh everyone's turn. Mute lips
of a swift unbuttoner. Mouths fording
frothy streams, vaporous bogs.
I stumble forth in their midst. Maybe
I am out of bread or in a bad place
with a book. The streets have an attendant
caress. Moon lapping rumor. Fat lip
approaches hare lip. There go pasty
lips. All are readied as if for a race
or to be plucked like rare moths
by bright wings from the air. Betty's lips
and Bobby's and Bucky's just before the collision
and the siren's red wail. Laddy, keep

a light on. I may have to come ashore
some distance from where I set in.

More Poems by Nance Van Winckel