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My Sweet Love

Elizabeth Zetlin
From:   Taking Root. Seraphim Editions

Each fall I separate your heads
into hundreds of white jacketed cloves.
I press you index finger deep
into cool trenches and cover you
with a blanket of straw.

You don't need me now.
Unseen, untended, alone,
you perform underground miracles —
from one as many as nine or eleven,
anchoring yourself to the earth
with thin white lines of rain
and root until suddenly one day
you are forced into green.

By mid summer you've snaked
into a field of green tipped commas
that would stiffen into exclamation points
if I let you,
          but I don't.

I cut your tops off, drape
your charms like the necks
of swans over my wrist.
My first taste of you sweating
olive oil, coating
my tongue and lashes.

When you begin to age
I pull on you and you
come away from the earth
with a deep sucking sound,
like a lover withdrawing
before he softens.

Hands gloved in soft red leather
I brush away your dirt and
toss you, long as my arm,
into the wheelbarrow. Saturated
with your smell and I haven't even
sliced into you yet.

I immerse you in rain water,
your head and roots
cupped in my hand. Your neck
a handle in the other,
I scruzzle you back and forth
the way I caress my lover's beard
as I lift him to my belly, damp
whiskers tickling my palm.

How intimate we are —
palm to chin, hand to bulb
as I push back your purple-veined skin
until you lie silky, naked.
I place you carefully on top
of pleasures to come, all lined up
stiff and gleaming, heads to the sun.

You pose for me
propped inside a window,
laid on a bed of purple thyme,
in front of a limestone column.
I kneel before you, my sweet love,
dreaming of evenings you will spend
flavouring me, the memory of you
warm and hard in my palm.

one of the "Gourd Poems" from Taking Root, Seraphim Editions

Elizabeth Zetlin's works copyright © to the author.

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