Beth Gylys |
Who You Are
You smell like smoke and wildness. Your hair is long,
your eyes are dark, you crave the taste of meat.
You know six ways to tie a knot. Your song
is water slapping against a rock. You'll beat
my ass at poker, smile as if you mean
to hurt. You want it bad and often, you like
a dare, the sound of money, the wet between
your legs. And I am muscle, singe, a hike
that never ends, mid-March, the sting of sleet,
suburban-free, no mamma's boy, no fire
without gasoline. Alive with heat,
we'll make our own new engine, drive desire
so hard we leave the earth behind, the dross
so far below it doesn't feel like loss.
Soul Sister Seeks Soul Sister
I'm thirty, dark-skinned, proud and made of curves.
An artist, I paint all day and waitress nights.
I groove to Green, but rap jumps on my nerves.
In search of someone to love for life. The right
woman for me will like herself. She'll have
a sense of who she is and who she wants
to be. She must have known the blues, the wave
of pain that's almost joy, the song that haunts
my bones, blue-black and reaching for the moon.
She also believes in God, and lives for more
than just herself. I think I'd come apart
without my faith. Let's fall in love in June
warm nights and windows wide, our fisted hearts
burst open like seeds, our spirits set to soar.
To One Who Can't Leave
From here to death may be a long road,
so stay with your wife.
Get home and be grateful.
The closet is waiting, ready for your coat.
Your children need you
to teach them the ways not to love.
Keep them safe with well-wrought lies.
Each child must have a sickness to grieve.
Let your loneliness be theirs.
They will know, you've managed for them.
It can be their slow guilt
as they climb you like rungs to the world.
Beth Gylys is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her book Bodies that Hum was published by Silverfish Review PRess in 1999, and she has had work published in the Southern Review, the Paris Review, Ploughshares, the Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, and other journals..