NANCY A. HENRY

  

What She Wants

She wants to have sex again before dying.
Well, not immediately before dying.
I mean, she doesn't want to have sex and die,
in bed, still somewhat entangled,
still just cooling down, thinking about getting up
having a good salami sandwich, with onions,
now that it doesn't matter so much,
surreptitiously checking in the hall mirror
how her mascara has held up
and trying not to think about her sagging belly
like she tried not to think about her sagging belly
when she was bouncing astride her lover
trying to get into the experience
not thinking what he was thinking she was thinking
of her sagging belly her mascara and so on
no that's not when she wants to die,
not exactly then that's not what I'm saying—
that she wants to have sex, and then die—
what it is, is she wants to experience
one more time, at least once,
wants to know that what she's remembering
vaguely was not her last time
that she can really know that wild
electrocution where she loses her mind
for making love is a very very good time
to lose your mind
and someone else is there with her
and they are both screaming
and forget what the wallpaper
looks like in the bedroom or that there is
a room and that there is a bed
and then she could die, some time after that
or maybe
just wait a little while
and do it over again.


How the Wind Knows There Are Tears in Our Jam

After you stirred
the heart
of that chestnut colt
sent him flying frail
spindle-legs kissing
the grass tops,

you worried through the screen
to where she stood
canning, coiled burners
glowing orange hot
licked that sweat gleam
from her knee-backs
fluttered that thin
blue housedress
as she stirred hot
roiling lava of strawberries,
weeping.

Next, you dried the blood
tracked from her bare heel
cut on shards of those
carefully boiled jars
their menacing fragments
now scattered
across old linoleum.

Finished there,
you chased the dust clouds
of his rusty green truck
speeding off
down the dirt road
past the silo
to town.