LORI WILLIAMS

  

Perpetuity

I once had a lover who whispered
your breasts are white doves holding rubies in their lips.
I laughed and said, birds don't have lips, babe.

He was older, though not quite
May-December. I was a summer storm:
intense, urgent, with purpose,
and he an autumn leaf, creeping along a curb
or settled in a heap of russet and gold,
serene in the beauty of ends.

I taught him things like how to fit
two in a tub of bubbles and that undershirts
worn under shirts were old fashioned.
My fear that he would leave first
made me run.

He tried to teach me that my eyes
were bittersweet chocolate drops,
my breath held the scent of a rose.
The moment is what matters, so be lifted
by the wind and alight where you should be.


He said things like that
as I tried to make his wardrobe hip
and brushed off his whispers like
those guys who dust for fingerprints,
always hoping for something of importance
underneath.

Two decades of seasons have passed.
I am now more leaf than storm, and he,
the peace of a late winter snowfall,
silent under the motionless embrace of the moon.

My breasts are white doves holding rubies in their lips,
I whisper to the wind.
If only I had thanked him.