Editing poetry: the pillow book

she is naked
except for a red ribbon
twirled around her wrist
and ink
in circles
whorls
words

around her ankles
Rilke spirals
she arches into the umlaut
l e n g t h e n s and tenses
like the swan’s anxious letting himself down
the brush relaxes against flesh

Carson crosses her uncovered arms
curved calligraphy
soothing the hard lines
she angles her head
to read
the roses were on fire
her dark hair
tied into droplets
splashing against her shoulders

on the stomach’s soft palette
Cohen and Plath
sear black into colour
force out small breaths
she curls her back
the words writhe, contort
need the PLEASURE in my spine

Borges and Neruda
duel for her hips’
pale meander
complete and radiant,
sealed by fire

a dark warmth like opium
uncoils

filling the gaps between lines
Mandelstam
crosses one cheek
he whines like a shutter
the retina is hungry
and her eyes are the darkness of Voronezh
along her spine
tightly lettered
spaced by her motion
He . looks . thro.  ugh .   the .   exqu.    isite .   binoc.  ulars .of Zei.ss

he is tracing the meaning
of the word circuitous
on her flesh
with one finger
like lazy jazz
saving his own words
sparing her thighs any brushstroke
because some words
are simply ribbons

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