American Muse: Karen Volkman



In May’s gaud gown and ruby reckoning
the old saw wind repeats a colder thing.

Says, you are the bluest body I ever seen.
Says, dance that skeletal startle the way I might.

Radius, ulna, a catalogue of flex.
What do you think you’re grabbing

with those gray hands? What do you think
you’re hunting, cat-mouth creeling

in the mouseless dawn? Pink as meat
in the butcher’s tender grip, white as

the opal of a thigh you smut the lie on.
In May’s red ruse and smattered ravishings

you one, you two, you three your cruder schemes,
you blanch black lurk and blood the pallid bone

and hum scald need where the body says I am
and the rose sighs Touch me, I am dying

in the pleatpetal purring of mouthweathered May.


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