Leslie Adrienne Miller


The body’s oldest lace, tiny knotting
of sensation around love made in a stairwell
in the city of violets, buttons for light at each
turn that gave just enough current to ignite
half each flight at a time-- as if someone
understood there’d need to be ropes of darkness
flung for the tongues to catch.
River of stairs, pouring up and up, the room
somewhere above, a dull approximation
of a grand plan hatched long before we were forged
in fire like this ourselves. Flame pinched
from a candle pocketed before we stumbled
through the swath of velvet drapes into wind
from the sea. This was a man
who moved around my body with urgency
and care in one motion, who would not love
and yet would not do less for the body
open to him.  I would never understand
and never not want that attentiveness to my mortal
flesh again.  Spoiled for the acolytes of our own
time and place, we return in the wane
of want to this gasp in the planet’s clumsy
yearning, where men make love like gulls
riding the ordinary gift of wind, and women
give up the face of God between their legs
out of a holiness so old even the smallest inns
provide a bowl in which it may be washed
clean every time.