You are the One I Want to Take Home
I think you held the door for me
and pulled me drunk
down the street, stumbling
in the sun. I think I walked
into every ray of you, every delicate
spike of your newly shorn head. Sweet
sweet the desire to run my
fingers everywhere. Across the map of
your jaw. The edge of my bottom
lip so eager to cup the salt of your skin
and swirl this storm of us. To tilt
your head back against the park bench
until you no longer care who sees us.
Instead, you fold into me like petals
at rest, and I am not afraid.
But this is just an exercise
in how close my hands
are allowed to rest against you.
But this is just an exercise
for all you think I have forgotten.
I have not forgotten.
Maybe there was a blanket in soft scotch plaid,
and as I pulled you down by the lake
your sigh and the waves against the shore
split us open to each other. Maybe my
cheek felt warm in the chill against your thigh.
Maybe you moved in invitation and said
my name so softly it wasn’t my name but
a prayer. The hawks may have been our
only audience. Bending in the wind to
the invitation of your scent. You don’t
have to tell me that you want me here.
You shudder in uncertainty and put
your hand on my head. It will be slow,
it will be filled with questions. The first
time, and the privilege to find what
you have to give. Your fingers nestle
in my hair. My breath into your body.
Tell me where. Tell me where. Tell me where.
First there was a red wig and
those thigh-high boots in leather
as supple as the last lingering
moment inside. . .but that
was time suspended, a summer
stretched out like honey—and
cunt just doesn’t come
like that anymore. The new girl
only likes vanilla. A finger or two,
no kissing after. She’s kind
but cannot be held. She’s brilliant
but treats you like a job
she’s done well. You still blow
her a kiss as she swings her
soccer-mom ass out the door.
But you’re thinking about the boots
and the wig. And the fullness
of a fist, the way pelvis bucks
pelvis, each arch and moan
the desire to fuse memory
like this mad unbridled
fucking into bone.
When I dream about you,
you are always in silk–
sometimes more black swan,
with a sneer, and succulent scarlet
lips that smear a painting of
our fucking like my skin
is canvas beneath you and
you would uncover the mystery
in abstract brush strokes.
When you visit in white,
the pills bring a delicate Madonna,
a savior. Your hair like onyx ribbons
cradling your breasts, your gentle
breath like a balm against
my neck. And when my fingers
trace the fine bones of your
clavicles, I watch you flutter,
I watch your lips move, and your
hips prepare for flight. You say,
take me anywhere. I say, you
are the one I want to take home.
An entire galaxy on a floating island * a worn down o’keefe iris * a moth that would take on Godzilla any day * your wishbone split and delicious * and that mighty head * hiss like the snake you are * take back and claim the cunt you’ve always known * I am not kidding * when I tell you the middle of your life will medusa-turn you * as it should * wear all that glisten and shine on the outside * with that kind of swagger only you know * with the voice you call out with * from those deep and anchored thighs * call them out * call them to you * wear your crown and defrock those silly silly cocks * we were born to hold the universe * this small key * 8 thousand doors below * blow your own beautiful mind * no one else contains your multitudes
Jen Rouse is the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. Her poems have appeared in Hot Tin Roof, Poetry, Poet Lore, MadHatLit, Pretty Owl, The Tishman Review, Inflectionist Review, Midwestern Gothic, Sinister Wisdom, and elsewhere. She has work forthcoming from Lavender Review, and is the winner of the Gulf Stream Summer Poetry Contest. Rouse was named a finalist by Ellen Bass in the Charlotte Mew Poetry Chapbook contest. Her chapbook, Acid and Tender, came out December 2016 from Headmistress Press.