Sandra Beasley

Offer me your prayers, those white
solvents. Offer me communion, little slips

of dynamite. Stroke my throat to help me
swallow. Tell me of winter, fields

sawed flat with cold, and I hear ch–ch–ch,
the antline of your marching, the way

any one of you is useless. Tell me
desire is a devil. Watch as I claw an orange,

sucking pulp free. My legs open to the sun
in its hard heat. I am dumb with wanting.

Desire like an iron nail, desire that could
split maple. I am strung. Watch me stretch,

toe to rib. Keep your hands. Keep your
promises. I’ll bite off anything you place

on my tongue. Say I was a song you once
loved. Leave your bible on the table.

Let your key whisper in the lock. I trace
through pages, caress the red letters, luminous,

capital, vines galloping a prophet’s body,
a bush in pure flame. I tear these out

to add to my bed, little strips gnawed
to a fine warmth. I curl up, wrists

rubbing one against the other, and sleep,
safe in my cricket-song, shivering.