Risa Denenberg

About the body and what it needs

I navigate by shadows of clouds in the ocean.
I don’t need a mother or lover to enter my vessel,
or to amend legends that were never mine.

I don’t recall labor pains, but still feel the rush
of milk tumble into empty breasts — a small shiver
of memory that sates longing, leaves me engorged.

You must wonder how I say these things that seem
so faded. In full sight of your fraught wish to be loved
in body, my rebuff must affront you.

I will not be coy: I know it does. Since,
if these things about me were not true,
I could foist the love you seek upon you.

I am no more alone than Emily Dickinson.
There is no idiom for the seasonal way I sail
into myself. The clouds are blue today.

Risa Denenberg is an aging hippie poet currently living in the Pacific Northwest. She is pleased to be co-managing Headmistress Press, a new home for lesbian poetry. Her chapbook, what we owe each other, is available from The Lives You Touch Publications.