At night my hand drifts to the bump
below your navel, the rise and fall of your breath and the gentle
curve there. I want you to teach me to fly
above fields lying winter-fallow
to where the trees grasp the horizon and the mountains have all
been worn from spires each down to a smooth arc.
Your eyes are wide beneath me, following my hands to the arc
of your breast, your navel is a shadow and the bump
of your hip rises next to mine. You are all
of me and I all of you, you fierce where I am gentle.
Fertile when I am fallow.
My hands teach you to swim; your words teach me to fly
“It’s not like falling,” you said once. “In my dreams I only fly
over the crescent moon and the arc
of the land where you sowed your seeds in fallow
soil.” My dreams are not your dreams; a bump
of dark soil rises in my mind until I cannot be gentle
I devour your freedom, wings and all
I have you by halves; I need you by all.
Do not fly-
I promise to be gentle.
To describe every curve of you and every arc
until your head waits on my breast to hear the bump
and thud where my heart once swore itself fallow
Sometimes I think I lie, like your promises, fallow;
untouched by your hands, when I once was held by all
in high regard; or some regard at least. Your sleeping form beside me apes the bump
and grind of those shallow dives, swimming in cigarette smoke when I watched the stars fly
past the recurve, negative horizon and arc
of the window, rolled down. The breeze was gentle.
I am unkind with words, but my hands can be gentle
on the convex spaces where you, still fallow,
define yourself by lack of turgid arc.
That is not all
you are to me. You taught me to fly
when all I wanted was a trip, a scrape and final bump.
I cannot remember a gentle night. There is no moon to show the bump
of hills or fallow fields against the skyline; fly
with me until, in the glare of arc sodium lights we are caught and held, words and hands and all.
Yes, it’s another sestina. No, I’m not sure I can stop. Bump is an awful word.