Don’t Call This Tenderness
There’s a shelter in your voice shaped
like a rustbelt factory, some gravel
I could kick into dust.
The air last night was thick remnants
of burnt coffee. We couldn’t get its syrup
off our salty skins.
We were parched and trying
to suckle anything left wet
out of each other. We’d forgotten
I don’t think you noticed the blisters
on my cracked heels
as you pinned them back
beneath your shoulders.
You weren’t the first body to open me
against the damp dread
of summer sheets.
There’s a man on a plane home from Jamaica
who’s claimed the territory of my hip bones
with his lips, named them his
favorite part of a woman.
I’m not the desert type. I need
to see water to believe it’s there.
Sometimes I get confused about the body,
go searching for its ends, ask the dark
skin of a barrel-chested stranger
if it’s ever been mine.
Stevie Edwards is a poet, editor, and educator. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Good Grief, was published by Write Bloody in 2012 and subsequently won the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Her second book, Humanly, is forthcoming from Small Doggies Press in 2015. She is Editor-in-Chief of Muzzle Magazine and Acquisitions Editor at YesYes Books. She lives in a castle in Ithaca, NY.
Darren C. Demaree is the author of three poetry collections, As We Refer to Our Bodies (2013, 8th House), Temporary Champions (2014, Main Street Rag), and Not For Art For Prayer (2015, 8th House). He is the recipient of three Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net nomination. He is also a founding editor of Ovenbird Poetry and AltOhio. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.