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Hard Labor

by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

I would crawl over uncharted shipwrecks,
Frozen tundra, rip rides,
To touch you in the dance
Of bent cobalt willows
Tremulous in the grey December rain.
I would walk the fractures
Of thinly frozen lakes
To taste you
In the cotton candy pink light
Of the year’s final sunset.
I would knock over your black licorice candles
To untie your hands
Beneath your trap door,
The door no one else can see,
Your camouflage being so professional,
Your strategy so well rehearsed,
Bearskin rug strewn haphazardly,
Love seat in bomber jacket leather
Catty-cornered to the plaid fainting couch,
Basket bouquet of amaryllis and stargazer lilies
As if your life were lived there
In natural light through French lace curtains,
Screen door open to the orchestra of
Tremulous wind chimes,
A gray dog’s jubilant bark
When his whole world approaches
The stone lion guarded cobblestone walk.
Who else could see you
Shivering in icy silence,
Wringing your clitoris-twirling hands,
Juggling your one-night stands?
Thumbing through your little black book
Of women whose slight-of-hands
Swept through you ghostlike
And never touched your face
Or brought your morning coffee,
Or handed you your heart
And put it back in place
When you kept it in a sterile jar
Along with sea shells ambivalently plucked
From unremarkable days,
Bar napkin notes in lipstick.
I would cup my hands
Around your immoveable stones,
Barbed-wire fences,
Labyrinths of fire,
To satisfy your most fragile need,
Broken childhood wish,
Your darkest desire.
Worshipping you would be
Back-breaking work,
Sifting through charred sands
Of your black volcano beaches
For some artifact
Of inextinguishable love.

Copyright © 2005 by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

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