She said, “Kiss me one
last time—before you go.” I
tried to steal her soul.
The music comes in a purr causing the women leaning, standing and lying around the room to react. Their limbs stretch lethargically, as if in slow motion. Then
the base drops
and the room comes to life, pulsing with erotic creatures sliding untethered across wooden floorboards and metal poles. Freedom.
Bittersweet Aspects of Living
by Sondra Rose Marie
In memoriam: hbs
When I turned twenty-
three I kept thinking about
how you never would.
I don’t know how I’ll ever sleep again. There’s so much good poetry too read and it nourishes like homemade soup when you want to warm not your body, the person on your insides after a blizzard of emotional downfalls.
To my daughters I need to say:
Go with the one who loves you biblically.
The one whose love lifts its head to you
despite its broken neck. Whose body bursts
sixteen arms electric to carry you, gentle
the way old grief is gentle.
Love the love that is messy in all its too much,
The body that rides best your body, whose mouth
saddles the naked salt of your far gone hips,
whose tongue translates the rock language of
all your elegant scars.
Go with the one who cries out for her tragic sisters
as she chops the winter’s wood, the one whose skin
triggers your heart into a heaven of blood waltzes.
Go with the one who resembles most your father.
Not the father you can point out on a map,
but the father who is here, is your home,
is the key to your front door.
Know that your first love will only be the first.
And the second and third and even fourth
will unprepare you for the most important:
The Blessed. The Beast. The Last Love,
which is, of course, the most terrifying kind.
Because which of us wants to go with what can murder us?
Can reveal to us our true heart’s end and its thirty years
spent in poverty? Can mimic the sound of our bird-throated mothers,
replicate the warmth of our brothers’ tempers?
Can pull us out of ourselves until we are no longer sisters
or daughters or sword swallowers but, instead,
women who give and lead and take and want
and want and want and want,
because there is no shame in wanting.
And you will hear yourself say:
Last Love, I wish to die so I may come back to you
new and never tasted by any other mouth but yours.
And I want to be the hands that pull your children
out of you and tuck them deep inside myself until they are
ready to be the children of such a royal and staggering love.
Or you will say:
Last Love, I am old, and have spent myself on the courageless,
have wasted too many clocks on less-deserving men,
so I hurl myself at the throne of you and lie humbly at your feet.
Last Love, let me never roll out of this heavy dream of you,
let the day I was born mean my life will end
where you end. Let the man behind the church
do what he did if it brings me to you. Let the girls
in the locker room corner me again if it brings me to you.
Let this wild depression throw me beneath its hooves
if it brings me to you. Let me pronounce my hoarded joy
if it brings me to you. Let my father break me again
and again if it brings me to you.
Last love, I have let other men borrow your children. Forgive me.
Last love, I once vowed my heart to another. Forgive me.
Last Love, I have let my blind and anxious hands wander into a room
and come out empty. Forgive me.
Last Love, I have cursed the women you loved before me. Forgive me.
Last Love, I envy your mother’s body where you resided first. Forgive me.
Last Love, I am all that is left. Forgive me.
Last Love, I did not see you coming. Forgive me.
Last Love, every day without you was a life I crawled out of. Amen.
Last Love, you are my Last Love. Amen.
Last Love, I am all that is left. Amen.
I am all that is left.
I promised I would post this poem for a friend after we talked about finding “the one.”
Girl, lemme know what you think.
Make time for me;
don’t just find it. Carve
out other endeavors to build a space
reserved only for looking deep
into my eyes and giggling
while I hold you—sweaty
I’ve shared my body with you.
Kiss me. Let me think you need me
but never make me question
that you want me. Surprise me:
I know you owe me nothing—
every silly greeting card left on my pillow,
every bouquet of soft orange peonies,
every silver-wrapped bar of milk chocolate
given is a choice.
Over and over, again and again
build a mountain of evidence
that no shadow of doubt can conquer
to question that it is me.
Your choice will always be me.
-by Sondra Rose Marie