A Fly of Spit

Catherine Stearns
| poetry


Drifting into being,
yielding heart, lung, eyes,
a fact herself in history


though omitting necessarily
that sunrise in the brain
wherein the vaguest self


follows a trail of scent through the trees.


She never left it for another,
but baptized herself
with a fly of spit.


As I wash her body, stroke
the yellowing nails of her feet,
the broken veins of her legs,


her buttocks, labia, pubic hair,
the striae on her stomach and breasts,
body worn all her born days,


remembered, unremembered
warmth, fatigue, muscles
still ready to spring


over this final strait—brashest ice—


I feel the knot like a snarl of twine
between her shoulder blades,
between her shoulder blades


and my shoulder blades.
Held lightly, she sways like a tulip.

Catherine Stearns has a previous book of poetry from New Rivers Press and a chapbook forthcoming from Slate Roof Press. She is writer-in-residence at the Roxbury Latin School in Boston.

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