Poem 35

rules for sestinas: six lines, same ending words in varying order


According to Chance

Without skin there could be no touching
the knotted muscles; no gorging these eyes
in the sultry undressed silence
of a whispered suggestion. Fear
not! Hold steady, hands and fingers; sweet-
soft shadows of the lamplight—all yellow.

His contours black and yellow
in the petal-pastel shades might touch
the linens or curl through this sweet
darkness until they demand my eyes:
colorful; subtle like peaches. Prickled fear
traverses my limbs as I discover his in silence.

Hush! Hush rustling sheets which stir silences.
Can you hear it from the sun-colored yellow
corners of your heart discouraging this fear?
This fear of what, I ask, this fear of touch
or surrender, or perhaps the terror of eyes
and speculations, souring the very sweetness

of this minute. Don’t. Nothing exists sweeter
than this petrified breech of morality. Silence
knows no bounds. No boundaries. Unlike our eyes
which know only the pink flushed yellow
outlines of our collapsed forms; which I long to touch.
So, with new-found brazen fingers I conquer the fear

and reach towards his navel, the shadowed follicles. Fear
not. Breathe in the desperately strong scent of him. Sweeter
to taste—I would hope—than to merely touch.
Holding the wrapper between his teeth in silence
it crackles and pops, white letters promise ecstasy from that yellow
plastic, captivating the field of my desperate eyes.

Do I let him see my fingers quiver? Do I fall victim to his eyes?
With irises skylight, he smiles, my lips tremble of fear.
The sound cuts the room in two, white teeth on the yellow.
And in a moment that mechanical smell takes the sweetness
from the low-light. Unsaid questions in perfect silence.
I do not move. I cannot move. But yes. Yes. Touching

my shoulders, my curved skin; touching my forehead with his lips, eyes
burrowing through my paralyzing fear; fingers tracing the subtle-sweet
surrender of my silence. The torn wrapper thrust aside—all yellow.
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