I don’t believe what my body says –
the whole of me too tall for most men,
my voice a wounded animal. A body that holds
forks and knives
and pokers for the fire – blue coals
alive as dusk.
I don’t believe its cries and moans
and cracks of thunder hushed between the lips.
If an orchid transforms from hard bulb
by the grace of rain and light, let it find
flowering in the moist ground
of your silence. Let it bloom not
from photosynthesis but desire.
And let this body enter holding love
under the tongue –
its sublingual light. A faint disc against
the shift to rose, dissolving and lighting
Let the body be the
beautiful, dark butterfly
coming significantly and ex
-pressly toward you
from the dimly shining windows
in a ballroom of guests. Let me slip between
the cracks of your closed door
to be touched
the way the butterfly holds
landing soft as sorrow
Italicized portions are Rilke’s
Lois P. Jones was the shortlist prize winner in the 2018 Terrain Poetry Contest. She has also been awarded the Lascaux Poetry Prize, the Bristol Poetry Prize and the Tiferet Poetry Prize, and had work thrice listed for the Bridport Prize and the National Poetry Competition. Jones has work published or forthcoming in Plume, Guernica Editions (2021), New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust (Vallentine Mitchell of London), Narrative, Verse Daily, Tupelo Quarterly and American Poetry Journal. Her poem “Reflections on La Scapigliata” was a featured film-poem for the 2019 Visible Poetry Project. She is the poetry editor for Kyoto Journal and hosts Pacifica Radio’s Poets Café on KPFK. Her first collection of poems, Night Ladder, is published by Glass Lyre Press.