Not Only Fire By Wendy Brown-Báez.

How did I emerge from your rib
the very one I slept against next
to your heartbeat, curled and certain.

How did you unfold me
like a paper flower on its long stem
petal by petal, bent back

into deepening color with each
press, until at last the surprised
mouth that did not know until this

moment how much it longed to
drink from yours, the fiery tongue
that tweaks my nerves into flame

those long rolled r’s filling
my senses with liquid joy.
How did you emerge out from my

small gesture of sympathy, the tears
I cupped to my heart like a string of
pearls, mine alone, out from the loss

of the oyster. How he moistened the grit
day by day in their underwater depths,
how I learned the way

to pry him open.


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