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Kaleidoscope

  • I remember sex before my husband
  • as a vague, vagrant landscape
  • of taller, darker men, all thick hair
  • and hands, the full lips of the rich past.
  • And sometimes, when I’m taking a sidewalk
  • full tilt, my heels chipping
  • the glittering cement, I feel their eyes,
  • their sweet lost fingers
  • tugging at my clothes — the one
  • who fell behind just to watch me walk,
  • to see me as a stranger might,
  • then caught up to catch
  • a handful of my hair, turn me around,
  • pull me back into his body’s deep folds.
  • They all come back, tenacious
  • as angels, to lean against me
  • at the movies, the beach — a shoulder
  • or a thigh pressed to mine, lashes
  • black and matted, and always
  • naked, clean and pure as souls slipped
  • glistening from the body’s warm wick,
  • like my husband’s fingers when he dips
  • into me, then lifts them
  • to his face, heavy with glaze, the leaves
  • crowded against our window, shivering.

Dorianne Laux, an American poet, is Poet in Residence at North Carolina State University and also teaches for the Pacific University Low Residency MFA Program in Oregon. She is married to the poet Joe Millar. “Kaleidoscope” is from Laux’s collection What We Carry, published by BOA editions in 1994, and is reprinted by permission.

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  • I remember sex before my husband
  • as a vague, vagrant landscape
  • of taller, darker men, all thick hair
  • and hands, the full lips of the rich past.
  • And sometimes, when I’m taking a sidewalk
  • full tilt, my heels chipping
  • the glittering cement, I feel their eyes,
  • their sweet lost fingers
  • tugging at my clothes — the one
  • who fell behind just to watch me walk,
  • to see me as a stranger might,
  • then caught up to catch
  • a handful of my hair, turn me around,
  • pull me back into his body’s deep folds.
  • They all come back, tenacious
  • as angels, to lean against me
  • at the movies, the beach — a shoulder
  • or a thigh pressed to mine, lashes
  • black and matted, and always
  • naked, clean and pure as souls slipped
  • glistening from the body’s warm wick,
  • like my husband’s fingers when he dips
  • into me, then lifts them
  • to his face, heavy with glaze, the leaves
  • crowded against our window, shivering.

Dorianne Laux, an American poet, is Poet in Residence at North Carolina State University and also teaches for the Pacific University Low Residency MFA Program in Oregon. She is married to the poet Joe Millar. “Kaleidoscope” is from Laux’s collection What We Carry, published by BOA editions in 1994, and is reprinted by permission.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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