For a time he lived between my legs
where our urgent collisions seemed more
than the common fuck, more like he wanted
to break through the boundaries of skin
and mind and dissolve himself in the depth
of a woman who, he insisted,
did not remind him of his mother. A woman
more pliant and yielding than the clumsy
young girls who offered themselves cocooned
in their own interests, a woman who knew
that his sickness drove him to seek
shelter on the inside of someone
who provided herself like an abandoned cabin,
whose heat was seasoned by distant fires,
hard nights, needs beaten to a sheen.
And when his breath caught
and he breached, almost, the sovereignty
between him and me, filling the space with sound,
my emptiness echoed his cry: the purr of wind
through loose windows, thrash of deer through brush,
the call of faraway trains at night.
What struck me most was how gently
his left hand cupped the elbow to steady
the arm and turn out the white expanse
near the wrist where the veins are visible.
And how slowly, tenderly, he positioned
it, held as one would when cutting a steak
for which one felt only the mildest hunger,
his thin wrist bent slightly over his work.
The almost translucent flesh dimpled
under the pressure and formed two plump
ridges on either side. I told him once
that I would be willing even
to bleed for him.
And when the flesh split, and the line
he drew down my arm turned scarlet
and welled up and ran thickly toward
my hand, I felt the bloodless despair
that cutters describe
rush out of me
and the room swirl almost
with the rhythm of his breath.
And weightless I rose
toward a beckoning twilight
as we sat leaning over
the slow flow that startled us awake.
Georgia Kreiger lives in Western Maryland and teaches literature and creative writing at Allegany College of
Maryland. Her poems have appeared in Antietam Review, Literal Latté, Maryland Poetry Review, Poet Lore, and
Sow's Ear Poetry Review.