The sun goes down and the sky turns dusky
And everything tastes like homesick
You drape the sky around your shoulders
And know how lonesome feels.
Every chord is minor
Every light dim
And if a stranger smiles at you,
you see regret beneath the curve of lips.
You’ve been alone too long.
If you count the time in twilights
it would number a lifetime.
You understand moths dying for the light
The sorrowful call of the whippoorwill
The futile signal of the firefly
You imagine a lifetime of loneliness.
You picture your hair going gray
your body loosening into a fold of wrinkles
Your best intentions pooled at your feet
How long since you recognized a face
Felt the touch of a familiar hand
A bowl of flowers on a kitchen table
An orange, peeled and halved for you.
These days, something about your Missouri roots that pulls at you. Something deep
and deeper yet that you can’t explain. That dark earth where corn grows tall
and green, where a girl can get lost in the fields. You remember staking tomatoes
and the way your daddy taught you the intricacies of the square knot. How, one small
hand over the other, you learned—right over left and under/left over right.
A litany you still say when you tie back the bougainvillea vines, when you wrap
a bow around a gift.
There’s no place better for growing peaches. Those boot-heels you can buy
at every farmer’s stand along the two-lane roads. And cherries and cucumbers
and green beans long as your middle finger. Dusty daisies blooming against green
ditches and locusts in walnut trees, raising their song in a choir of summer hunger.
You wonder why, after all these years, the geography of home is country highways
and gravel roads and farms with ponds where cattle stand, ankle deep in mud. And
how the girl who craved California is now the woman who thinks porch swings and
ice tea and long twilight evenings when fireflies blink bright as memory. And where
you listen for the cicada song, and hear someone calling your name.
I want to touch
your skin. I want
to drag my fingers
along the outside of you.
I want to leave my prints
on your wrists, the smooth
inside where I can feel your pulse,
the beat beat of your blood. I want to touch
my palm to your thigh where your skin
curves and leads like a path to
somewhere else. I want to go there.
I want to know you inside out.
I want to write a poem on your back,
word by word on the knuckles of your spine
and let my ink sink beneath the surface of you.
I want to stain you with my words, tattoo
your body with my name. I want
to be your second skin. Cover you.
Draw tight around your
is a writer, teacher and writing practice provocateur who has published four books
on writing including the award-winning,
A Writer’s Book of Days, and Writing Alone, Writing Together.
Her work has also appeared in the San Diego Reader; Personal Journaling magazine;
The Frozen Moment; A Year in Ink, Vols I and V; and other anthologies.
Her next book, Wild Women, Wild Voices, will be published by New World Library
in Spring 2015. Ms. Reeves teaches at the UCSD Extension and San Diego Writers, Ink,
which she cofounded.