If You Kissed Me
If you kissed me, would I understand the slow, fertile music of Neruda?
Could your mouth teach me patience,
the way Aguardiente teaches warmth in the night,
penitence in the morning?
Tus ojos, your eyes, the words rise up as sap quickens in Spring trees
While on the ground, leaves turn the color of your skin,
of Dominican Rum,
singing a gentle hymn in my chest and I simply cannot breathe.
The wiry mane through which your hand plays:
How many generations spun in fawn and ochre
to make such insistent hair that sighs
by moon and candle light,
brushing across your sculpted face?
Is it right to say these things?
O woman, exchanger of visions,
formal as a ballroom dance
unstudied as the arc of a firefly.
All the words there are for woman
Regal strength entwined with
The terrible knowledge that is birth
And separation -
These are in your walk.
You came here as an afterthought
like a child unsure at the left hand of San Pablo.
Left for receiving.
bringing me thoughts of herbs and healing
you hands are cinquefoil,
your ankles, John the Conqueror root
your breasts, Yohimbe's warm, cruel voice
exorcising my disease.
Casting shadows of light.
Silencing the echoes
Until calm settles into grace.
Awe unchains what past I've worn
Leaving me unafraid before the ocean of your embrace
We curve together, like a bridge
And I hear music.
© J BARRETT WOLF