Monday, August 28, 2017
Here is a poem I wrote many, many years ago:
ON YOUR SLENDER BODY
On your slender body
you wore what women wore then— not silk, but jeans,
long white shirt,
hair parted behind.
You came in humming a song, up to date, like you. Your Indian eyes were brown, distanced,
as if you were looking
at a secret, something far away.
You were like a scent hovering nearby, perfuming the room, saying,
Here I am. I’ve come.
We did nothing exceptional. Sometimes we played bridge with the others
in the living room,
or shared a meal
We seldom went places together.
Everything centered on the one room, ours. Something there carried us
to yet another place.
I keep wondering
what happened to you,
where you went,
how many lovers you had afterward.
Was it true,
as the newspaper said,
you had married?
It was hard to believe
and I wondered why.
Where are you now?
Do you still sing those throaty songs, like love strokes in the dark?
I still have your picture.
This poem is inspired by another written in the nineteenth century by Wu Tsao, who has been called China’s great lesbian poet. Her poem is one of longing for her beloved, an elegant courtesan. It begins “On your slender body/ Jade and coral girdle ornaments chime.”
from SOME KISS WE WANT: Poems Selected and New
(image from internet)