The second kiss
burns through the body,
like lightning blazing down the center of an old pine
leaves the exterior intact,
as though the tree’s marrow
had not already shattered in fire,
as though it is not, from the moment of burn,
slowly dying from within,
its long arms lowering in exhaustion,
finally falling to lie
with its own lost needles,
replaced bit by bit
by a whole new forest.
The second kiss makes up for the first:
for the long waiting and short touches,
small agonies twisting through blood,
for the stumble of lips and tongues
colliding, clumsy in the dark
of such an unfamiliar room.
It renames all the parts of the body
by scent: sharp clove of sweat,
the cinnamon of an indrawn breath,
lilac blooming madly just inside
Skin melts with want, separates
and slides down to splice parting legs
with a forest of fire.
After, the air is obvious but without speech,
breathing heavily over a field of ash.
With rational thoughts
and the roof above them burned away,
every room in the body
has a view of sky.
Published 2009 in The Meadow
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