A Suite of Love Poems by Words Dance’s 2016 Authors


Mixed Media Art by Kristin Reagan

HYMN FOR AN OPEN MOUTH

Ask me about the summer
I fell in love with someone
more blackberry bramble than girl.
Aching to be touched
but never talking about the thorns.
And me, all heavy handed
and too proud to acknowledge
the things I’d cut myself on.
I dreamt about juice
running down my chin
for months.

Trista Mateer, author of Before the First Kiss



From Henry Miller to Anais Nin

There is no patience in this body.
There is only enormous wanting.
No one speaks of the stunning weight of it—
how desire pulls us through the world
as though our limbs are attached
to the strings of a clumsy marionette.
I am dizzy with this great burden.
How does one live without love?
At the end of each day, you are there
and this simple act saves me.
I walk through a market to pick peaches
and blush at the thought of your mouth.
All lovers tuck small secrets behind their tongues
and go on clicking through the world
as if they don’t know where the light comes from,
as if they didn’t create it themselves out of thin air.
I leave the market and walk quickly through the streets.
I open our front door and drop the peaches to the floor.
A week from now, we’ll find one rotting under the couch
but for now, there is only enormous wanting.
There is no patience in these bodies.

Fortesa Latifi, author of No Matter the Time



LOVE POEM

We are sitting with our backs pressed against the radiator.
You taste like toothpaste and one too many shots of cranberry

juice. I let you lick the confectioner’s sugar off my doughnut, watch
your tongue as it strips and teases. I applaud. Leave a week’s worth

of tips, etch my calling card into the hollow of your throat
with my collection of baby teeth. Isn’t that what adoration is?

Love to the point of consumption: galactic, entropic, except
you’re the existentialist and I’m the one who waters the plants.

Whatever. I love you louder than creation. Point is, I think of you
in the carpool lane, in the middle of the checkout line with a grapefruit

in one hand and your prescription pills in the other. I want to run a red
light. I think we’re too subjective. The clock strikes March. My feet


are in your lap. You scrape the honey off my teeth with that pole-
dancing tongue of yours. You will never have to go to the dentist again,

you say. I try to tell you I’m swapping spit with the hygienist, except that’s
a lie, and I’ve sworn off lying. You asked me to write you a love poem,

but this is all you’re going to get. I’m trying to be honest, you see.

Brianna Albers, author of Why I’m Not Where You Are



Somewhere in Genesis

             fake this for me

will you pour yourself over me for forty days and forty nights

             will you cover everything that I know

make me gather what animals you will
             but in pairs
so you and I aren’t lonely
             and so they aren’t either

will you destroy everything that hurts
             anyone who mocks us

will you silence those who tell us this story belongs to someone else
             somewhere in Genesis
             or in ancient Sumer
             or in the Epic of Gilgamesh

as far as I know this is our story

this moment couldn’t belong to anyone except you and me

             will you pour yourself over me for forty days and forty nights
and then leave me on top of a mountain

where people will always look
             but in vain

because this moment doesn’t belong to them
this moment couldn’t belong to anyone except you and me

Wesley Scott McMasters, author of Trying to Be a Person



On Our Last Orbit

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we

will grow gray by each other’s sides;

how the winter will be hard on our old bones,

and our sight will blur a bit more

whenever I try to read my latest poem to you.

It doesn’t make me sad anymore:

to imagine us at the end of our road,

our younger years so far

from where we stand now.

I don’t fear losing each other,

at least, not as much as I used to.

You are, and always have been,

such a strong pull of gravity in my life.

Even before we met, every day

I’d watch my body tug closer to you;

the ends of my shirt lifting at the seams

as if some whisper of a ghost was saying,

“Just a little further today.”

So why, at the end of it all,

would the magic end there?

I don’t believe life built the final boundary

to face on our own, when not even the stars know

what it’s like

to have an entire sky

alone.

Schuyler Peck, author of A Field of Blooming Bruises




THAT KIND OF GOOD

Some people have a softness
that draws water from the earth

Call it dream. Call it flight.
The opening & closing of

your eyelids, like sparrow wings
beckoning the trees.

The music of your bones,
startling spring from the earth,

the dazzle of your smile
drawing honey from the bees.

You are kinder than the cruelest thing
that’s ever been done to you.

You are softer than the tender meat
you were bruised into becoming.

You are so good, bad people would
break every hard word over their knees

to keep you from falling on yours.

You are so good, lazy people would
line up to be the coffee-mug at your mouth

if it meant another hour of ease.

The religious talk about the second coming
& you talk your shadow into starlight.

If you asked the clouds for shade
the sky would split itself like apple.

If you asked me to cut out my heart
I would do it with my own knife.

Natalie Wee, author of Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines



As the Sun Bid Its Cordial Goodbyes

You as the sun, you as hot-hearted hinge for far too many boxes & not enough doors, not enough ceaseless opening, you as harness, as endless channel of life, as listen— if I could finally step out from behind all these clouds of metaphor I might ask if I could have the key to your unlocking. I might ask if I could see you tomorrow in all your brand-newness, in all your rising to the center of my sky to woo the weeds that keep us grateful for what is. Here’s the dirty truth though, poet can hide on cloud nine because she likes the air there just as much as she likes to lie low bathing in a tub of her own secrets, she likes to smokescreen, to domino, to dig up what flasks in the dark & pass it around the table like a plea or a prayer or a farewell wish, what she really wants to say is this— come bottle up with me, come garden out the gloom so we can hold it up high & laugh about how fuckin’ wretched is it to just be some days, come dusk with me, come night & dream & love & bliss, come Hollywood ending with me, come credits with too many true loves to name, look— I know you’ll always be danger, I know you’ll always be this unreachable star bound by the blue of midnight & daylight & the luster of all those other stars but you, you as constant, you as fail-safe & feverish & true, you are the warmest part of my day, even still.

Amanda Oaks, author of When Minerva’s Knees Hit the Ground