China, by Dorianne Laux

From behind he looks like a man
I once loved, that hangdog slouch
to his jeans, a sweater vest, his neck
thick-veined as a horse cock, a halo
of chopped curls.

He orders coffee and searches
his pockets, first in front, then
from behind, a long finger sliding
into the slitted denim the way that man
slipped his thumb into me one summer
as we lay after love, our freckled
bodies two pale starfish on the sheets.

Semen leaked and pooled in his palm
as he moved his thumb slowly, not
to excite me, just to affirm
he’d been there.

I have loved other men since, taken
them into my mouth like a warm vowel,
lain beneath them and watched their irises
float like small worlds in their eyes.

But this man pressed his thumb
toward the tail of my spine
as if he were entering
China, or a ripe papaya

so that now
when I think of love
I think of this.

Dorianne Laux

3 Responses to “China, by Dorianne Laux”
  1. Jenae Marks says:

    I’m copying this to share with my writers’ group in an e-mail. I met Dorianne when I was a teenager and have been very influenced by her work and love to bring it to others. Will perhaps share this page on Facebook soon.

    • Please do! There are probably a few more of her poems on this blog, I think, as she’s had an influence on my writing as well. Finally got to meet her last summer, during a Jacar Press workshop with Dorianne and her husband, Joe Millar, who is a talented poet in his own right.

      And thanks for leaving a note — it’s deeply appreciated.

      Cheers, and happy writing,
      Melissa Hassard

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  1. […] China, by Dorianne Laux ( Share this:EmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. By Deanna Elaine Piowaty • Posted in Art Criticsm, Ireland, Istanbul, Japan, Photography, Playwrite, Poetry, Psychology, Shadows, Social Commentary, Sociology, Spirituality, Turkey, Ukraine • Tagged Art, Dorianne Laux, Japan, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kumi Yamashita, Oscar Wilde, Paulann Petersen, Raymond Chandler, Shadow art 0 […]

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