Blame it on the desert air
that drew the moisture off her like a slip
or the moon that spotlit her hair
and the creases under each ass cheek
or the power of a glimpse of sponge
on crook and fold and dimple.
Once watching, he could no more let the ritual be
than leave a psalm
Even the rug’s roughness, the cold of stone
weren’t hers to own in the city of a king.
So he trained his focus on her skin,
ignoring the flat rooftops beyond, and self-doubt
lay under wraps
like the curve of a waist beneath a kaftan.
Sarah Carleton writes, edits, plays the banjo and raises her son in Tampa, Florida. Her poems have appeared in Houseboat, Burning Word Literary Journal, Avatar Review, Poetry Quarterly, The Bijou Poetry Review, Off the Coast, Shark Reef, Wild Violet Magazine, The Binnacle, The Homestead Review, Cider Press Review and Nimrod. She also has work upcoming in Silver Birch and Chattahoochee Review.
This poem was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
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