Fishing with Liz

The waters in Rio
were abundant
with big groupers,
slippery catfish,
and snappers,
red and delicious.

I did not like fishing,
but doing it with her,
I learned to love it
and how to catch—
she cast the net;
I pulled the line.

A carnival queen once
and samba dancer,
I did not really mind
taking off my skirt
and the waves untying
my tiny G-string bikini.

Elizabeth was different,
folding her trousers,
dark maybe polyester,
and her buttoned shirt
worn by professionals
like girl school teachers.

I did introduce her
to chocalho shakers,
tamborim, its beater,
and loud snare drums;
she taught me poetry
of fingers and tongue.

One night in February,
in our deep-fishing,
our hook caught a tuna;
we shared the flesh,
tasted each other’s cut,
and ate all of it raw.

Above not far from us
were the hill favelas
and tall Jesus Christ
stretching His arms
as if quietly saying:
Welcome to Brazil.

Study of a Tangerine

Bare, we give up and curl in like its peels,
squeezed oil and perfume in the locked air;
our excited fingers and nervous nails golden,
the evolution of yellow and deep orange,
we hold each other’s hands; eager, we lick,
sharing seasonal bitters and rare sweets;
our sour faces morph into smiles, satisfied.

Simple, our joy is whole in between palms
like our napes we grip and cheeks we cup,
as warm as our tongues luring each other
and gasped breaths begging for quick breaks,
before we divide it into pieces and small bites
like portions of silk hairs or segments of skin
we tend before bones and outlines, febrile.

Confident, we can tell its shape even if blind
like how we sense the arches of our brows,
the bows of our lips, the soft solids we touch,
the plush texture of linens covering our feet,
our exposed bellies and naked battered backs,
because we share its fibers and its last drop
and keep its seeds like our secrets, fervent.​

Crying for Sappho

You brought nothing
in your exile
but lamp
and pen
and cloak of wool.

I saw how the lamp
flickered to lyrical verses
and lit at night
the island of thieves
and men.

Your pen made of reed
wrote on tunics
the sadness of skin
and breeze
in desolate May.

The solitude of poets failed
to kill you;
the hairy cloak you slid
back-and-forth
comforted your vulva.

I woke up wet
and weeping inside,
wishing I could give you
the soft silicone vibrating
in my hand.

Thinking of Frida Kahlo

Before,
I rattled in the mirror
leaving prints, smudges
on the stucco wall;
the floor had kept traces
of my tiptoes, stains.
 
At night,
I dreamed of macaws
picking cactus blossoms,
tearing my camisole;
the howlers had played
with my lips, nipples.
 
On weekends,
I danced salsa in heels,
orgasmed last in a tango,
all arts of my limbs;
the language of my hips
had seduced them.
 
Now,
they are mere flashes
in my lonely mind, bound,
hankering to revolt;
my torso has surrendered
to opium, atrophy.
 
These days,
my belly, waist yearn
for fingers unbuttoning,
their excited grope;
my hands have forgotten
thickness, muscles.
 
In time,
I, my chair will find
the pulse in the frictions
of our touch, embrace;
my pelvis has long begun
feeling the edges.

Last Night

In the cell
for vagrancy
and more,
 
she rubbed
the crimson
off her lips.
 
On the wall
hit by stray
bulb light,
 
the finger
drew a hint
of mouth. 

Women and Pipes

You lit
with fire.
I puffed
clouds.
 
That was how we knew
the softness of each other’s fingers,
finishing a pack
under the spectacle of faint stars,
minding no moonlight,
eyes gawking at the noises of lips,
a fruit if uncut
sweeter, saliva sealing what we had,
the halts of our pulses.
 
My toes
curled.
Your skin
said no.
 
The sameness of words
we saw in our eyes became blinks,
the long cadence
of our motion tiring your thighs,
my inaudible nothings
meaningless as your quiet cough,
the deliberate hint
of your refusal I could not ask you
to translate into a phrase.
 
You went
to find.
I stayed
to wait.
 
 
 
 
I asked some
questions.
Your absence
answered.
 
That was how I trained
myself to accept that you were gone,
the headboard still,
no crumple on the tucked bedsheet,
both pillows untouched,
the couch teaching me the languor
of its impatience,
the same talking faces I put on mute
keeping me awake.
 
I made
you explore.
You let
me wallow.
 
The moon persuaded me
to look, the big dipper coming off
like a glass pipe,
the night sky billowing heavy steam,
all their urges ignored,
but I overheard two masked brutes
left you half dead,
my feet taking me where you were
to chew what I brought.
 
The meat
was mine.
The juices
were yours.

Incomplete Landscape

Less than an inch,
the space between us
before I heard
your inaudible noises,
the illogic of lips,
when our arms twined.

Now, above me,
the tableau of the air
looking over
the doleful geography
still unsettled,
abandoned to scorch. 

My thigh leaning
on the phantom knee.

Dark Silicone Brown

After the quick burial,
a mistaken identity…

her fingers have been
trying to make a fist,
the unfolding pointed,

tongue has struggled
to articulate a curse,
its sulk unfathomable,

…their toy, on the floor,
has browned from dust.

Her Abstract Origami

From a distance, a gun,
proud on the study table,
that just murdered a woman
who had been hearing groans.

              Eyes squinted, a piece
         of a pipe, the edges sharp
     like the shards in her pocket
after falling on the hard asphalt.

In my hand, a blossom,
the ruined lily underneath
my back that warm afternoon,
when she held both of my arms.

            Laid on my belly, a half
        of the butterfly that longed
     to come out, but she was not 
around to move my thighs apart.

Phantoms and Anatomies

It is tough to restrain
my thought
nagging when I go down on her
to end what worries.

Does she recall
how they sliced off her tongue
so she could not yell?

As I touch to pacify
the bewildered
convulsion of her skin on mine
I am always led to ask.

Will her fingers
they taped so she would drown
remind her again?

Sometimes I just want
to lie lifeless
beside her waiting for that push
to tell me it is okay.

Are my hands
not different when they sweat
before my lips move?