Affairs by Pat West


One day he just shows up,
sweet and quiet at first
with a poem.  An electric charge
builds like a coming storm
vibrating up my spine.
I gulp mouthfuls,
While you slept,
I watched you breathe
as the moon rose in the sky.

Night after night
I devour Billy Collins,
a chocolate truffle
on my tongue.

Next one holds me close.
We float down afternoons
on slow rivers of margaritas
and conversations.  I become
a descarada woman
with Jimmy Santiago Baca.
Flick my ruffled skirt, flash
the butterfly tattoo on my ankle,
challenge him to Flamenco.
Later, slurp the last bits
of Immigrants in Our Own Land
from my plate with red-chili lips.

Each time with Sherman Alexie,
a hollow sensation hovers
low in my stomach
like on a carnival ride
beside people on the Rez,
not depressed victims,
but the most joyous Indians
in the world.  I rise and fall
with his metaphors
sweet as cotton candy,
caress his long mane of hair
fanned across red satin sheets.

Lemons, artichokes, eels, love
and despair.  Another all-nighter
with Neruda.  Odes to objects,
foods I pass in life without any  (No stanza break)
attention.  Tonight the onion
and tears I don’t even know
wait inside, seep from my eyes.
Then Pablo starts in about socks.

About the Author: Pat West

PatWestBioPat Phillips West lives in Portland, Oregon. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, San Pedro River Review, and Slipstream, and some have earned nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

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