“As we move slowly through the room…”

As we move slowly through the room
I whisper to you as I often do in crowds
a slow message like the alphabet in rote
over your shoulder, my fingers touching between your shoulders
my lips near your ear

I tell you how you bring centuries of broken hearts
with you like a cape of the deepest velvet
you make men loll weak before your wicked appearance
and slender hint of warm pulse and hips

I tell you, you are mine all mine like bites and bruises
and the twin stains of lips
in your profile your smile twists like hungry cats

we are as unnoticed at first as familiar house guests
subtle and plain as neighbors and cakes
we walk in a semicircle surveying the party
nodding politely to those acquaintances we remember from other nights

But you,
with a practiced turn you place your figure
at the appropriate curve for Aphrodite and surrender
as the room surmises in firmness and gross confidence
you engage the glances with gloves, garters, and heart
in a fine flesh swagger you dip your shoulders
and the room becomes lit in your sly sulfur flash
the crowd of men and women
and their many tiny white eyes
glance at one another naked and nervously bare
they bend napkins to their faces and talk from behind their hands
with language usually reserved for the little boys room
they brush their shirts and laps with their palms
with one long regard they see right into each other

They aim to smile but are interrupted by the chatter
and keep themselves at their tables
and reach for the arms of their dates and wives
leaning to mumble some note or remark to insure their partner of their close position

as short as breath this flash recedes
conversation circles grow closed and uninterested
and you and I are again under comfortable cover
within the dim flickering of fat candles and dining tables
a room of pillars; the standing ordinary bodies

through the halls we hear the doors to rooms shut ever so slightly
with the uniform sounds of kisses and punches

You grip my hand in recognition of the rise, surge, and wane
and turn to me
within this light, within your eyes
all I can see is myself twice reflected, the deep black of your hair, the crushing red of your lips

and the pert, desirous pleasure you gain from your maddening physical beauty

Jason Ian Moriber (© 2002)