hard eyes

The hard eyes of a woman whose hair was down,

who held herself taller, whose legs were longer

and forever outpacing us down rooted, rutted trails

with an odd gait — knees in and heels out,

shoulders tight and twisting and she was most

beautiful, most imperfect in the woods.

So somehow longer, leaner, harder now

the knots in her spine creeping up her neck —

like they the dragonhead writhing.

They that fear, they those long lies,

they the steel glinting beneath the

dark sea eyes (like a beast of war, a nautilus).

I had thought her before a lioness,

a lithe and muscled creature to wrest

and wake with, but in her nakedness

like the heat of the heart of the earth,

her contours living and heaving as

an ancient continent. This the mystery

of love.

I had found her a woman of the dawn and the dusk;

bone embraced in flesh embraced in touch

embraced in speech; and what wonders are

whispered between one breast and another.

What self is lost in sex, sent wheeling to the sacred?

Her eyes wet and deep as time, and we, at times fell

out of the woods and into the well of one another’s

wondering. They are frozen now. Only she knows

what shield simmers there beneath them.

Only she knows what fear and loss lie alone.

And I alone, the sole remaining beating heart,

this swelling, pulsing redness,

why, we do not even have a word for —

Wait. I suppose it is shame.

Why can’t it clot like blood and kill me?

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