Holy Functions: Alexis Teyie

I felt her nostrils needed windshields,
but her eyes were round,
really round. If I loved
her, I might say, like twin
moons in a desert dream.
No, no. What I thought instead:
urinal cakes. She even had
that vaguely fresh, vaguely stinging
cloud about her. I thought it, sure,
but was too smart and too lazy to say it.
Well anyways, her mouth was alright
And when she smiled,
I forgot about how mean she could be,
and that’s what smiles are for goddammit.
We could have ended there—
a goodbye from her okay mouth, a curl in mine.
Except, instinctively if awkwardly, we understood
people with bodies, or in them,
mustn’t be stingy with their skins, those immensities.
Like I said, it was her mouth and also this
cute spot on her jaw, which if you got way too close,
was the colour of ear wax. Is that cruel? Crass?
Caramel, or honey, then. Ach, but aren’t we all impatient with ugliness?
Grotesquerie baffles us when meaningless. For instance,
what’s that expression on her face? Even so, I kissed her.
Clammy palm on my ribs, she says (to be mysterious?):
‘First bird of the season fell out a sky like any other.’ Trying to be sexy,
like on TV, I say: ‘Oh chicken, you are of God!’
Now, nervous and itchy.
Is she laughing? I’m not laughing; light bulbs burning
during the day are really just the saddest thing.
Still, a knee here, and there, another knee.
In between, I eavesdrop on their gossip.
These knees are twenty one, and mine a year less.
We’re young. Our blood’s pumping fast, they say;
her heart, my lungs (their singular witchery). And heavens,
the sounds! The sighing, the squelching—all of it an old hymn.
Secretly, and separately, we hoped for revelation.
This is it, then, the holy sign:
only the first of future foiled redemptions.

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