THE WARTIME ISSUE

Venus Thrash

 

RITUAL

We smoke reefer
on your rooftop, forgotten
by the dying city. you say
washington's monument
is just as you imagine satan
must look—white hood,
red eyes.  your laughter
echoes only in my ears,
sugary with Hathaway's
sweetwater tenor. 

We float above oncoming
dusk. a tangerine sun
weaves gold and lavender
across the sky, blocking
our masculine tears. 
your body hair grazes
the ridges of my skin
you are so close. 
for all we know
we may never meet again.

We suffer another missed touch,
another word unsaid. 
we ignore your mother calling
you home two and a half
stories below. the scent of fried
pork chops smothered
in onions and gravy
rises to our secret spot. 
we won't say goodnight
until the last minute.

We linger long as evening
smog in rush hour's wake. 
you don't mention shiny black army boots
waiting in the corner of your room. 
i don't beg you to run south
to tuscaloosa, skip
the border to canada,
or fly off this roof with me
toward defenseless clouds. 
do you think I want my loved-one gone?

We inhale this ritual, passing
it back and forth between us. 
i taste the salt of your kiss
between the thick of my lips
for the last time. 
you swipe your sweaty
balled shirt across the span
of your chest, pit of your arm. 
before you go,
let's make this moment sweet again.

We wrestle ourselves
into a muscled embrace. 
your afro nestles
in the corners of my fingers—
you will lose this too. 
the fuzz of your mustache
on the wet of my tongue
as nightfall rocks us in her dark arms. 
tomorrow may never come
so love me, love me tonight.


For All We Know
I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
interpreted by Donny Hathaway

 

 

Venus Thrash received a BA in Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. She received the Myra Sklarew Award in Fiction. She is a Cave Canem, Lannan, and Soul Mountain Fellow. Her short story “"Cast Away Stones" is to be published in the forthcoming anthology Enhanced Gravity. Her poetry has appeared in Gargoyle and Catalyst, and in the recently released poetry anthology Gathering Ground. She is currently at work on a short story collection, The Soul of a Man, and a novel, Hole.

 

Published in Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006.

 

To read more by this author:
Venus Thrash

Venus Thrash: It's Your Mug Anniversary Issue