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Poetry: From the November/December 2012 issue | See all poetry



Romance

In love with the body, especially when
it dances in love with its own dance as it toes
and taps . . . flickers, creepers, chickadees
around a tree trunk, a click beetle in a flipping
somersault, the soft-shoe swish and sway
of the chee and feather grasses, the lissom uvas;

in love with the melding of the body,
especially when it languishes in the surf
of its own sleep . . . the belly slump of a leopard
stretched high on a branch, camouflaged,
leaf and fur, the tight sleep of a tumblebug egg
in its buried pod of dung, the man in a backyard
hammock slowly rocking with the slowly
rolling sun through evening shadows;

(so floats the sea otter on its back, bobbing
with the rocking sea, so bobs the gelatinous
umbrella and stinging strings of the jellyfish,
jelly and sting being the design and event
of the sea’s own rolling body)

especially when the perfumes of a vigorous
body at rest are of the salt of the sea, his body
itself being the salt of the earth, in love
with the taste when the salt is tasted;

no ardor surpasses a body on the hunt,
halting abruptly, one foot lifted above the snow,
poised, as intent as frozen air, eyes as pure
and sharp as ice, then the bolt—the élancé
beat and soul wholly in pursuit—the sail—
the contact—most foreign, most familiar,
on the far edge of the horizon.

- Pattiann Rogers

Pattiann Rogers has received a Lannan Literary Award. Her next book, Holy Heathen Rhapsody, will be published in the fall. She lives in Colorado.