The Fallen Angel
One more tithe to the altar of seductions:
a rose tattoo on her rotund rump, and for that
she’s lifted her dress, tucks a round of bills
into her sequinned G-string, her lips pursed.
As she bends down to unfasten her garter,
the golden clump of hairs on her pubis points
its damp goatee to a breathless audience—
singed, the balding insurance salesman,
scalded, the Vietnam vet amputee wringing
his empty sleeve like it’s the enemy’s throat,
stricken, the barmaid who’s seen it all before,
but who’s in love with the star of Vixens Galore.
Haloed by cigaret smoke, the stripper moves now
as if traversing a slow dream—her blue dress
a silken sheen, a diaphanous mist thinly clinging
to her body—reptilian, sultry, she pulls her palms
and silvered fingers around her swollen breasts;
she sways to the silent baying of the hounds,
to the groundswell of heartbeats and tambourines;
she shimmies her cobalt hem waistward, and now
she ploughs her hands down until her fingertips
touch and tender that dew-spangled curl of flesh—
and she is moaning softly now, her violet eyes shut,
her chin tilted back like a flask of champagne
ready to exhale its evanescent song, her lips
swollen open, a mirror image to her flushed sex:
she is taken up in ecstasy, her spine arching back—
as if by invisible wings she’s being drawn away
from the heaving men, their minds aflame, burning
like molten coils, their desire the oil-rich fuel
igniting her return to God.
Slowly, like a hot tear tracing the skin’s folds,
God drew His finger along my parted lips,
Then down, down along the round swelling of my chin,
Then slowly He skimmed my curved nape of neck—
Soft as a dove’s throat and bare of any scent—
Turning delicately around my wingless collarbones,
His finger pulled its burning torch down to my breast
That pounded so I shook, down to my hardened aureole,
Its tiny halo enflamed, engorged with milk—
Where He hesitated only a millisecond before
Letting His finger meander further down, gravity
Lowering my eyes too, as slowly His fingertip undulated
Along the corrugation of my ribs, and down again,
Grazing now across my ripe expanse of belly,
Where He paused momentarily to circle my naval softly
Before His finger moved on further down, down
To my tenderest mouth flushed with blood, blushing with
God’s breath upon it, His finger rousing me there,
Stoking my trembling nether lips, rubbing them gently,
First the one, then the other, then the tiny tidal wave
That rose to meet His finger’s playful, painful touch—
The aching, rising pitch of flesh turning everything to fire—
And then, all the universe—extinguished:
God took His hand away.
Tiny minarets of dew balance on blade-tips.
A skeletal ant, pale as an opal, surely
bent on some urgent mission,
mistakes my finger for a bridge to somewhere.
Staggering under the press
of his unwieldy freight, the beetle stops
to unshoulder a pharaoh-faced moth.
All the little cries of light
glisten like icons in the darkest valleys,
where the bumblebees gather tears.
I want to hold and still the world.
Instead, I gaze at the butterfly’s delicate,
velvet wings, hinged as they are
to sadness, grazed with prisms,
and I bless what is small
what shivers like jewels.