Song of Songs

March 5, 2017


Chopped pears in a porcelain bowl
ladled with cream.
Candles flicker
not even a whisper between us
just your hand resting on mine
a move away from holding me.
As my thoughts slip from cream to green –
we’re under shushing willow
in a June breeze, our faces fenced
in shadow.
Darkness closes like a blind –
in silence we pass through a wet street;
peppered lights. We don’t speak
but your lips brush my cheek like an accident.
I want to cling, but temptation
might strangle us. A sensation on my head –
your lips again.
We move apart and walk into the early hours.

You are a forbidden prayer,
so I look at wrought trellis on the steps
as we climb; stroke,
whirl my fingers around ironwork.

Purgatory: I breathe your breath,
great gulps of life in a moonless night
and I try to kiss –
but my lips are sealed.

Maria Isakova Bennett

(From Antiphon, issue nine, Autumn 2013)

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