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Sverine in Summer School

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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 (Poetry Foundation, 2004)

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

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Sverine in Summer School

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