after Baba Badji & francine j. harris

It must be my lust for the musk of the master.
Nights it finds me. In the knick
between vertebrae, it flickers ambition to future inferno.
It huffs at the door of my heat,
my laundress humidity come loose and whipping
the keyhole. I confess: sometimes I let it sorry
white down the lumber. There’s the tick
in my tailbone, a spasm of glut.
It slobs out there a century, saying
it won’t let itself happen again.
And because I hold in me
a clutch of grains I call a healthy self,
because I’m flattered my blood can still beacon,
I answer No but with my nose,
my chin already steering the back arch.
I sigh a neigh the wrong way
like the end of a question coming. I can’t help
anything limp across a bed of straw
at times like these, though the cricket business beckons
squarely through the backdoor screen—
I can’t tell a courting from a fight song after all. Dang.
See me knob inside my hips, dribble into sump
more comfortable. Here it go:
drape its whole hazy swole over
the moonbreak backstroking floorboards,
flush the light in the wink to a less sad elsewhere,
jerk like a snout there.
Lemme pretend I don’t let it in,
the cornered vermin of my brain meat all sag and screech
like a cot under coitus. Pretend I don’t still
want its hand in me. Like the sleep
isn’t different after my poppet mouth watermelons
to the shack seams’ nursery-rhymed ache.
Like this is just a dream, these nights
it skunks down here and delayers me
to the red velvet. It’s real stink
on my lip when sun rivers in but otherwise
hardly a trickle of. I’ve been thinking about—
like a run in a stocking
or mosquito through a mission of mesh—
this tenant of my cockles, how its given me
maybe a grief to run off at the mouth about,
but then, when the blotches don’t diminish in the wash,
I get to chatter-gnawing at the tail
end of a slip to give it. I get to talking about
running off as if there aren’t six feet between us.