Sheri Benning

Kelly Wiens

Kelly Wiens


For the long-limbed dance of you,
             your hair in my mouth, rye-and-coke breath, drugstore shampoo,
                          baby-powder sweet stink of you.

                                                         The nicotine buzz,
                          ice off the lake, jump in, eyes shut, nose plugged,
                                       freshwater-on-skin scream of you.

                                                 Bar-closed drive home, 2am, Highway 5,
             Quill Lake, Watson, Englefeld. In the rearview, you:
passed out, head in Faye’s lap, feel of your pulse,
the aurora borealis of you.

                                                 My first spring in the city,
our friend Lindsay knocked on my door, held out her hands:
a mango. I’d never seen one before.

Dust and crushed paper,
winter swept into kitchen corners,
she cut the leather rind, the soft fruit. Juice down her wrists,

                                                 flesh on knife tip, dusk light
                          lengthening minute by minute. The shock of it
in our mouths, cut clover, our mothers’ perfume.
                                                                           O Kelly,

for the flora of you: the kingdom, the phylum,
sugar, yeast, virus, spore
of you.


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