JUNE 18, 1997
h = o = t + i = n = k
e x h i b i t - p o e m
Interval with Erato
by Scott Cairns
That's what I like best about you, Erato sighed in bed, that's
you've become one of my favorites and why you will always be
I grazed her ear with my tongue, held the salty lobe between my lips.
I feel like singing when you do that, she said with more than a
of music already in her voice. So sing, , I said, and moved
to the tenderness at the edge of her jaw. Hmmm, she said,
Is there anything you don't like? I asked, genuinely
to please. I don't like poets in a hurry, she said, shifting
so my lips would achieve the more dangerous divot of her throat.
Ohhh, she said, as I pressed a little harder there. She held my
in both hands. And I hate when they get careless, especially
when employing second-person address.
She sat up, and my mouth
fell to the tip of one breast. Yes, she said, you know how it
can be --
they're writing "you did this" and "you did that" and I always assume,
at first, that they mean me!, She slid one finger into my mouth to
the nipple there. I mean it's disappointing enough to observe
the lyric is addressed to someone else, and then, the poet
half the poem spouting information the you -- if she or he
were listening -- would have known already, ostensibly as well as,
or better than, the speaker. I stopped to meet her eyes. I know
what you mean, I said. She leaned down to take a turn, working my
with her mouth and hands, then sat back in open invitation.
Darling, she said as I returned to the underside of her breast,
have you noticed how many poets talk to themselves, about
I drew one finger down the middle of her back. Maybe they fear
no one else will hear or care. I sucked her belly, cupped her
vulva with my hand. My that's delicious, she said, lifting into
Are all poets these days so lonely? She wove her fingers with
so we could caress her there together. Not me, I said, and ran
my slick hands back up to her breasts. I tongued her thighs. I said,
lonely now. She rubbed my neck, No dear, and you shouldn't
be. She clenched, Oh!
a little early bonus, she said; I like surprises.
few poets appreciate surprises, so many prefer to speak
only what they, clearly, already know or think they know. If I
were a poet... well, I wouldn't be be one at all if I hadn't
found a way to get a little something for myself -- something new
from every outing, no? Me neither, I said, if somewhat
Oh! she said. Yes! she said, and tightened so I felt her pulse
my lips. She lay quiet for a moment, obviously thinking.
Sweetie, she said, that's what I like best about you -- you
and you know how to listen when a girl feels like a little song.
Let's see if we can't find a little something now, especially for
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