Nude Descending a Staircase
Moonstoned in the depths of the Ambien hours,
she flows—bedroom to kitchen to bath—naked,
gravity-lover downstairs dancing,
unembarrassed as whitewater in a kayaker's dream.
Sleek and dangerous, she hypnotizes: my Salome,
my mistress of hydrodynamics and dance.
Swamped in veils, in waves and brush strokes,
oh what can I do but founder: twee playboat
capsized in her aftermath, shouting out, not waving,
O shapeshifter, sharpshooting mad under moon,
descend untouched, untouchable, slip aqueous
through my luckless grasp—liquidshimmery, lickety-
split—reflections tongueing lovers lost in new ideas
of what is face, what is form where current is king.
No mudpuddle Narcissus, I only have eyes
for the rushing by, the burning too quick
for retina to register, for beauty in fleetest form
setting the millworks afire,
out beyond the rainglossed highway,
where muscle cars whoosh puddles into oilslicked
masterpieces, streetlit abstract expressions:
four hundred horses of paintbrush, one hundred
thousand Duchamps dancing on the head of a pin.
Ah, the hunger in your eyes, the shiny fish
writhing under your skin!
Shiver me your undulation, modulation,
your ballet, your hipsway, your come-thee-hither
from upstairs down.
For you I breathe deep, dive deep
into your sizzle and froth, scream you a song
you carry only to lose to a bigger river.
Another voice in the drowned-boy chorus,
another lullabye gone home to sleep in the sea.
Brent Terry holds an MFA from Bennington College. He is the author of three collections of
poetry: the chapbook yesnomaybe, (Main Street Rag, 2002) the full-length Wicked, Excellently
(Custom Words, 2007) and Troubadour Logic (Main Street Rag, forthcoming 2018). His stories,
essays, reviews and poems have appeared in many journals. He is working on new poems, a
collection of essays and a novel. Terry lives in Willimantic, CT, where he scandalizes the local
deer population with the brazen skimpiness of his running attire. He teaches at Eastern
Connecticut State University, but yearns to rescue a border collie and return to his ancestral
homeland of the Rocky Mountain West.
The Ekphrastic Review
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