Victor Basta




Most of all,
I miss your scent of rosewood
and orange water,
a whole grove lying beyond
where my hands can
pluck the dark.

It is too far to reach, from here.
And so my mind closes
its eyes around the edges
of you, around
the memory of that scent.

I can hold you, there.
I can hold many things,
there. Two purled ridges
of skin thread their lines
down to the rising arch
of your open mouth,
shaped by the regular weather
of your breath.

Across them, its breeze traces
down the terrain of your face,
to your chin lifting
the rest of you into me, inside
the round linger of my arms.

And there is where I will start,
as soon as I open my eyes.


You ask me to trace
each ridge of your sternum,
descend rung by rung to where
your pounding heart must be.
There is enough room there
for a whole night, you say;
opening up is a journey
of faster heartbeats.

And there it is, locked away
behind the prison bars of your chest,
the fist-shaped twin of my own.
On unmade bedsheets twisted
into dense silence under your legs,
caught in the crossfire of gray lamplight
that fills your open mouth
with shadows, it cowers
in darkness, under your sweater.

I reach my other hand around
it, from the back. You turn your cheek
away, toward the window.
I can see your dark lips open
to the dry tongue of air, exhaling
that pounding in your chest
long enough to tell me:
thank you, that is enough now.