November Pastoral

poetry 0
Despy Boutris


How we love: by taking another name
into our mouth and swallowing it


for safekeeping. By softening at a touch
the way dusk dissolves the city,


bodies unmooring, skin syrup-sweet.
I read a poem in The New Yorker about wind


turning grass into italics and watch rain
dimple the puddles that flood the road.


On days like this, you and I like to hike
up the hill behind the clutter of apartments


and lie in the grass. It grows high enough
to keep us hidden, limbs muscled open like oak,


shirtbacks soaked through. You reach for my hand—
Remember how we used to touch


like we feared electrocution? I watch a bird fly
across the sky and wonder how we must look


lying here huddled for warmth—one wave echoing
another. And if you ever want to be a shipwreck,


I’ll be the seabed on which you rest.
I always knew I belonged in water. And, now,


raindrops pearl my hand as I reach
toward your cheek, rim your lips with mine,


hunger ribboning my throat shut. How
to describe the flavor of your mouth? Rain


and Earl Grey. How to describe the grass swaying
in the breeze, the scorch of your skin—


bright in this light—the fossae
above your collarbones collecting water.

Despy Boutris’s writing has been published or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Journal, Colorado Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston and serves as Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast, Guest Editor for Palette Poetry and Frontier, and Editor-in-Chief of The West Review.