the last time


The Last Time
Donika Kelly

I hardly remember the last time
we touched each other with tenderness:

the evening’s fall, the light dim, the rug new,
our life rambling ahead of us as the valley runs

to the foothills. Surely I called your name,
pulled you close; surely you trembled, our bodies

tangled and damp; yet what lingers in my mind,
what rings so clear is the hot mouth of shame opening

in my gut, awakened by the more I’d wanted: to taste
and at the same time be tasted, to be ridden, to take

inside me whatever you would give. Shame,
in both the wanting and the wanting’s return,

swallowing whatever longing I wanted to voice.
I could hardly know that mouth’s alarm,

gilding the night, was a warning–had assumed
the maze farther south, its center quiet.

Photo by Matthew Kosloski on Unsplash