Starburst in a dwarf irregular galaxy
I remember the loneliness clearly, she told me.
Twenty years alone and she still sensed
his touch, felt the sudden velocity
of her body when they kissed at bedtime,
the electric frenzy. We sleep and wake
like animals, not understanding the coiled
energy, the turbulence of love.
Just outside the arms of the Milky Way
a dwarf irregular galaxy twists the sheets
of the universe into bunches. You sleep
next to me, breathing in the dark.
Each time I lie down with you I kiss
the fear into submission. Sometimes
I remember my widowed grandmother
and can’t sleep as trees scrape against
the wind. Sometimes I dream I have walked
into grief while night circles the vacant landscape,
stars unfurling like static until dawn breaks
their hold. When we wake, I tell you I am
fraught with doubt so you will hold me
Later I explain that supernova explosions
trigger star formation. I show you the photo
of a dwarf galaxy, the starburst at the edge
of the black nothing that surrounds everything.
Twenty years of turbulence and I’m still
suspicious, but you kiss me like nothing
is wrong until you fall asleep again,
until the dark coils against my fatigue
and I dream, finally, of infinity.
First published in Fox Chase Review, June 2012.
Tango — medio corte
Stand closer, she says and I slot
against his thigh
as though no one can see us.
We don’t look at each other.
In fact, we push away: shoulders back,
heads arched. I pretend indifference.
He knows better.
When he turns me the first time I lean
so close his hip scars my body.
The second time I crawl
high enough to touch skin
and he’s perfectly frozen, for just a moment.
Our teacher claps. I don’t look at her.
I don’t look at him either but I can imagine
his face as we slip into pivots,
a promenade, the basic.
I am a cat, nonchalant as three o’clock.
He leads me across the room,
its mirrored wall transparent
I am a feather.
Fluff on the lawn.
A slip of paper flirting towards
the corner until he grabs my wrist, locks
it against my spine, secure
as a fallen angel.
My body is frozen. I want to kiss him.
He opens his hand
and looks away.
First published in Diode, Volume 5, Number 2, Winter 2012.