CALL TO PRAYER Sick with fever in Abu Dhabi, I curled retching in his empty bed like a cat hell bent on grooming myself out of existence, throat hairy and tongue thick as pregnant fig. Across the sand-coated street, an oil-black man crept across a rooftop, one inch tall and limbs strong as ropes to rub and knead and love another perfect window frame on another perfect villa swollen with gaud and waste. If I could dredge up the strength, I’d have pulled that damp t-shirt with its sucking threads over my sweat-knotted hair, pushed your weary boxers down my hips, bones protruding like fins, and pressed my bare breasts against the window, hot as a frying pan, my gift, my offering, to that sinewy miniature man as the sun tore through his skin and the loudspeaker from the mosque down the street blared the third call to prayer, making the men march like wind-up soldiers, mats cradled like tired children in their arms.
CATHERINE ON THE ROYAL PROGRESS NORTH
08.08. 1541 After “Poem Not to Be Read at Your Wedding” by Beth Ann Fennelly You ask me for a poem about seduction, how to lower your gaze and glance up to catch his eye at the proper moment, how to finger his sleeve, let your lips linger on the hairs of his cheek imperceptibly longer and make his member full, wanting to burst at the mere mention of your name so you too could be [handfast] to a lord, the highest bidder. For three nights I’ve lain under these eaves full of drenched disappointments, mounting fears and considered your request. Well Charyn, I would rather give you my ruby-filled brooch than tell you what I know. Let me write a poem about youthful passion, and firm thighs. Don’t make me warn you of pus-filled legs, impotence and foul odors that seep through the lips of snakes, the court and even your brothers when you do not deliver what they promised. That would be a bare and citric womb.
Penumbra Spring/Summer 2013