She kept me in her room; I wanted to head home but the wine was strong and it was far to walk, and I had the barest design on where to go. Some seductions are slow and sad, a writhing girl holding you with your collar down to the bed for, she says, just a little. The language is not her first, her tongue comes apart in burs around it, but she pushes it like a tongue across a chest.
Barren-brained I stared away, I made excuses, I made denials, I dreamed of the sweet A/C blowing cool upon me and on the icy silence between my seat and hers, her dash-lit rage burning blue. But she was near as far gone, down deep below an ocean of wine, as she let on, and I no more wished her dead than I wished to not go home.
So there we were, a white-walled apartment in the dead-black woods, and sure it had been a long swim through the years with no arms around me but vengeful mermadonnas plucking at my feet in the swirl of memory—but could you, could I, so thoroughly lie for the sake of perfect form?
the burns upon her eyes
the glistening, working thighs
and who could guess her lips would taste like cloves
when they glow, when their bright orange coils shred
the dark paper in the dark?
A fever and collapsing and staying through the night. A waking with a panic and knowing that you’re drugged. She’ll draw you out, she’ll pour you back; a phial, a pharmakon.
If you thought you were lost before, brother, if you thought you were lost before.
Daniel A. Nicholls can be found declaiming poets and poetry on Twitter (@nomopoetry) and Tumblr (nomopoetry.tumblr.com). He has poems online in Agenda, The Honest Ulsterman, Open Letters Monthly, Compose Journal, Specter Magazine, and Halfway Down the Stairs. From 2010 until 2012, he was Writer in Residence at The Starving Artist in Keene, New Hampshire. He now resides in Arizona.