by Jennifer Thompson
Another Love Poem
Perhaps you ought to be afraid
now that I love you, and have said as much.
As for the last,
I used to imagine slitting his throat
and bathing in his blood
–to keep my youth, you know–
letting the overflow run
down my chin.
I gloried in the crimson stains,
I could split his skull, cradle
the gray matter within,
stroke and untangle the ganglia
try with delicate fingers to read
as if with Braille,
the fading pulse and play
I know that this is not love but murder.
I know that this is not reading but slaughter.
But, oh, to know what he was really thinking
behind that gentle smile of tolerance
or poorly masked indifference
or rich love returned
or hate fulfilled, become plump and bold
I plead with you to show me no untimely kindness…
And supposing I should beg you to intervene on my behalf, do not believe what I say… If I am
condemned to suffer, I will take it that you mean me well.
– St. Ignatius of Antioch
Letter to the Romans
I shudder with voluptuous sacrifice,
pleading for martyrdom yet
wincing from the flame.
You slip your hand
between my thighs.
I am slick.
You mock me gently.
A woman should ration her desire.
Yet there lies my power.
If I can only draw you in
my need will whirl you away,
carry you along
until you are helpless before it,
smeared with my juice
and longing for more.
Having drunk and bathed in it
you want –
so much –
to give in,
to cry as I am crying,
to grip the bedclothes and tremble,
to grind your whole length against me,
to be taken in.
You pull back,
giddy but self-aware.
I spend and spend and spend;
you must calculate, hold back.
Thus the prophet Tiresias admitted,
in the face of Hera’s wrath,
that women enjoy the act of love
more than men can.
In sudden blindness and second sight,
he treasured the crimson
the dialectic of power
On Aquinas: Suma Credo te Deum
Now: the delight and confusion of flesh,
a reflection clouded and reversed.
My desire grows to mad proportions.
You want to fuck through
to the other side, grasp God
in my body and pull him out bloody
like Jesus wrenched from the womb
of a panting Mary.
So you aim for my womb
and long to inhabit my woman’s body,
the vestibule and font of my vagina,
the narrow hipbone chalice,
further, my smooth skin
the set of my head
each arc and angle down to my calves
quivering in three-inch heels.
Use it use it use it you cry,
absurd and beautiful.
Stained stocking stands in
for a bruised calf,
coveted body for self,
and lover for God seen, felt.
So Saint Catherine came to rest
on her wheel, and Ignatius of Antioch
lay down for the harrow
of the lion’s teeth.
Tonight passion mortifies us,
releasing us from our condition
only to bind us to our proper bodies
© 2004 Jennifer Thompson
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