letter to her skin

I’ve been sick, so sick
I’ve been away, far,
the days I read my
mother’s letters, as
if each ancient, crisp
envelope contains a
ticket to some past hell

I’ve been at war, I’ve been
at sea, I hope this letter
finds its way to you, I like
to think about my words,
this black ink, this linen,
wrapped around you by a
sensual, warm wind, ivory
linen caressing ivory skin,
an act of love, the paper’s
edges deceptively sharp,
reminding you my presence
always carries mild threats,
sweet dangers, bits of pink
and red, slow blue contusions,
slow, honeyed pleasures
and no real harm, ever

I’m working my way back
to you, again, at the end
of each episodic exile; I’m
so cold, abroad, I cover
myself in tiger hides and
woven wool, but it is your
heat beside me, under me,
I need, our flesh seared shut
together, sealed in red wax,
my molten initial marking
you, then cooling into a
proper watermark, subtle
enough to wear by day

I get lost on my way home,
cry, missing the soft, smooth
planes of white, always
temperate at my arrival,
stormy under my touch,
tiny red drops, like miniature
hearts, in each micro-apocalypse
between my teeth, everything
evil is crushed, and I taste love

I long for your milky perfection,
the long slope down your neck,
taut against the painful softness
of my bitten lips, my chipped
cheek bone

things happen when I am lost,
midnight sunrises are promised,
but the darkness is endless, and
I wake up on impact, thrown from
trains, flown through shattered
windshields, washed up on rocky
beaches, stiff and cold, lost if
not safe under my childhood bed,
I taste blood, cry salty, my child’s
brain laboring at phrases, carved
into the wood floor and my flesh,
desperate, perfectly spelled words
elongate twisted truths to
explain away the evil

I am treacherous oceans away,
I long to be lost in you, a perfect
world of unmarked fields of white,
the world underneath me rolling
in satisfied sighs; my mouth will
travel familiar paths, from the
red ink phoenix of your calf, to
the single, flaming, victorious
feather drawn around the
fluttering pulse of your wrist

my old ghosts hold you down,
my rough touch burns alive,
my demons release you, can
you feel the memory of my
fingertips traveling every inch
of you, slowly, methodically
and with pride, like an old farmer walking his property line
as the sun again surrenders

when you get this letter, I
could be anywhere, maybe
even home to you, I am
on my way, I swear

meanwhile I will long for you,
for home, a refugee from
the pins in the map that
pierced me, once too often,
a follower of the falling stars
that lead me backward
mercilessly, I swim through
the water hoping the sirens
will not find me, I am
on my way to you, I am
yours, truly

————————–

This is my entry for the dVerse”Poetics” prompt tonight, in which we are challenged to write an epistolary poem.

Mine is a love letter written from a a cyclical journey of absence. (Of course it is confessional, and a bit kinky, because I wrote it. I remain that open book that isn’t for everyone.) If you are new to my page, it may help you to know I periodically struggle with complex PTSD and the various levels of emotional withdrawal and dissociation that come and go. I’m getting better every day. When these themes are in my work, it’s usually a healthy purge.

I’m happy to be welcomed back to The dVerse Poets Pub after another absence from participating, mostly due to a very happily busy summer.

Please take a moment to read some of the other entries, epistolary poems in a wide range of styles from a group that includes some very talented poets.

xo wb

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About Wyeth Bailey

Raging my mid-life crisis. Reclaiming my riot girl youth. Resenting my overdeveloped intellect. Wyeth Bailey is a pseudonym. You may follow me on twitter @DangerousSweets View all posts by Wyeth Bailey

4 responses to “letter to her skin

  • brian miller

    welcome back…it made me think of a man who had been away at war…maybe even written amidst the battle…unsure they will even get home…reassuring themselves as much as who they sent it to….nice intensity….again, welcome back.

    smiles.

  • claudia

    this just oozes with longing… and the struggle can be clearly felt… i love the intensity…really jumps from the page…and welcome back…smiles

  • Gemma Wiseman

    First. I must thank you so much for your wonderful words in response to my poem about my mother. I just scraped out a few shavings of the story. It is really far bigger. But many, like you, seemed to sense “the more” and offered so much support. I can only say thank you.

    In your poem, there is a torrent of impassioned longing. But I think the final image of being trapped by pins on a map is perhaps the most devastating, the most dramatic image of all.

  • Heaven (@asweetlust)

    Wow, love the honest, passionate and sizzling write ~ There is a deep longing in your verses, of someone away from their loved one ~ I sighed at the end ~ Happy to see you posting again ~

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