BY PAOLA BRUNI
On the sunny-side of the fountain,
ragged face of moist stone glistening
copulating snails, hermaphrodites,
male and female, female and male,
cool water immersing gelatinous feet,
conical domes of their backs. Their
mounting in this open room of desire
holds my stunned admiration.
Unabashed sex is their nature—
love darts and heavy petting, penis
sunk into the slime of pursed vagina,
concerto of climax, deliquesce
of ejaculation. In the early years
of our courtship, in a tiny house
with only one shower, daily
togetherness slick under fine spray.
It was our job to be young, lather
each other until we shone
with uninhibited need. Confessions
we spoke, sliding from lips
into steam-soaked air. Wetness
sparked every live wire inside us
and we dove from the cliff of want
incendiary, burning at both ends.
Twenty-six winters, we’ve shared
a home by the sea with two showers
and less of our bodies, more of something
else—infinite threads refined as silk.
In the desire room, I’m an elegant flower
preserved between the pages of a book.
In the desire room, I’m furtive, all shivers
and breath, liquid and sin, corporeal
as the moon is a body waning. Some things
This is my job now. To be young despite
years that slim to a justified end.
There is no river without the want for it,
no rain that isn’t divine.
I return throughout the day
to the fountain, linger. Body of a snail
prolapsed on the body of a snail.
In the heat, asparagus fern and jasmine,
blue jay lavishing in the bath,
two monarch butterflies
descend then arouse in flight.