Amy Spade

Spring, Sprung

What was I to do with this deep longing?
The shock of your smooth, soft body after
your men’s clothes: your nipple in my mouth, your
clit. Head between my legs, all fervent tongue.
Both of us with insomnia for days,
we fell asleep in tangled limbs, content
till a shrill, single-noted bird’s intent
woke us, and lines of poetry marched gay
and fierce behind my eyes—till your demand
made my legs so shaky and weak again.
Your mouth and eyes both wanted more from me
than in the night, before you lay down fully
in fire, before my way in to a life
was you lying luminous in the light.

You lie luminous in the fractured light
coming from another part of my house,
shoulder still gleaming from opportune rush
over post-dinner with friends, after sprouts
and oysters and cocktails and giddy news.
I sent you a poem today—couldn’t run
my own controls, manage hope—pressed send then
held my breath in terror and helplessness
till you responded. So are there no more
constraints on our hearts? Any maneuvers
I should be worried about, as I fly
headfirst toward this wild love? Your thigh
trembles under my lips, gives me license
to do what I will: take you, and keep you close.

I will take you and keep you close, but first
this visit from my daughter, puberty
and sass and pure emotions, giving me
a reprieve from this swell of feeling burst
open. After bedtime I miss you most,
want your heat radiating from across
the bed, the cold bay geography to cross,
a world seemingly between us, your ghost
in my sheets and your taste conjurable.
And then crash! Dinner with your ex able
to fill me with selfishness, jealousy.
You say, “this love affair has been exactly
a fortnight,” and I count six more days, blue.
Will this worry find its way back to you?

I worry all day, find my way to your
area of the city, stand, listen.
I take S. to the playground, sit in sun.
My desire for you like massive ore
presses on my chest, holds me immobile,
or, alternately, a flock of quick birds
inhabits my limbs: my moves are absurd.
Halfway through your evening with her, noble
idea—for me?—to see me a night early,
on your actual birthday. My reply
sends you busy into rearranging
plans, all while with the ex? I’m not saying
no—won’t, can’t. Want your kisses falling soft
on eyelids, love, stoking this fire aloft.

Your eyelid kisses, love, stoked this fire,
left me breathless. I went to work on few
hours of sleep, kept afloat by strange fuel.
And I want to know now, want to inquire,
want to hear you say it aloud. Will you?
Tell me you’re feeling the same. Overwhelmed
was your word, but I saw your face, no helm
for your control, twisted and tight, a brew
absent your hand. Is it really torment
to understand love as sugars’ ferment,
or do you just think of the crush of malt,
the feverish mash, the need to maybe halt,
to aerate, bring oxygen? Sometimes buffers
are merely salt, and old wounds suffer.

Mere salt winds hot, sour in salsa’s flavor
as we cook before your friends’ Sunday fete,
beach walk lifting us past reverie, set-
ting us down into real somehow, hour
of spindly-legged birds and sunny kisses.
Later comes our first picture together,
you with rabbit ears and me a nestler
in your neck. We seem a couple, wishes
come to life. By Tuesday you say you’ll leap
off the cliff if I want you to, such deep
care and sensitive courtesy combined
with fear, risk—and I say please, want the bind
as much as deliverance, the cliff perhaps
no sharp drop, but aimed-for state on old maps.

No sharp drop. We aim for a state unmapped
and bask in the crossing, sea glistening
before us. We don’t want time or vision
to change, we don’t pin sense with words unapt.
Though we’ve tentatively started planning
things months out, all of this—this!—is plenty:
to lie as one, away from strife, poverty.
It is enough that beautiful evening
light streams in, enough that right here is life,
the world (cornflowers, bed, the ocean rife
with pale shimmer). I think, “Come live with me
and be my love…” I have fallen already, 
arrived here, heart’s truth manifest, pulse strong. 
What was I to do with this deep longing?

link to video 

Originally from Detroit, Amy Spade lives and writes in Oakland, California. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston. Her largely formal poems have appeared in many journals, including Nimrod, North American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Cottonwood—and most recently Lesbians are Miracles. New poetry is forthcoming in Sinister Wisdom.