I imagine the scent of pomegranate.
 It stains the night air, like the smell of those Roman girls
dancing untamed around a shaft of stone.
 Across the hallway you are sleeping, the blood of martyrs
upon your tongue, the seed from our earlier love-making
coursing between your thighs, a talisman, a pledge.

 Long after midnight in another apartment — a telephone
is singing — a lover calling to his love. Soon I will be calling
to you across an ocean of secret tears — our last farewell
but a memory carried on the wind, our only thoughts then
   of arrival and reunion.

 When we meet again, you will wear the ancient wreath
of pomegranate, and so the caged bird shall sing once more
of freedom, as two hearts become one.

Silver ring
for Nora L. Hollin

Night has come unlooked for, once more,
with its assassins’ cloak, huge and worn
torn from the day, the light, copious hope, memory,
as though its coming could extinguish
the intended’s dream of belonging.
Ah! love cannot forget the ragged miracle
of the blind dove and lame grackle,
nor the drinkers’ fall from grace —
but life is hard for the poor, the path dreary and baked,
but nothing is forgotten, not the wild white rose,
nor the wild apples stolen from the tree —
the silver ring is everything, wilder than the rabid wind,
lighter than air, all that is worth living,
the blinding kiss upon the platform,
the promise of always took upon the knees.

The crossing

Now only the crossing matters
as we talk into the night,
our every word locked
with the secrets of the stars,

the dilemmas of the flesh
pressing urgently in air,
each possibility sowed in earth,
warming the heart with song.

Amid the benediction of rain
one heart waits for another,
awaiting elucidation, in time
even the unknown must be known —

what good to point to the rose,
the heaving breasts, the lyrical body
if the idea of the rose is superior
to the rose you hold?

Now only taking your clothes off
for the camera counts,
the small matters of love,
soon the crossing will take shape

as the divinities of sex bid us
to lie down with each other,
immersed in discovery, poised
between beauty and illusion.

In The Fray is a nonprofit staffed by volunteers. If you liked this piece, could you please donate $10?