This work was featured in Issue 18:2, Spring 2017 — Cave Canem 20th Anniversary Issue

Venus Thrash

Mercy

Ten summers gone since we made love three days
non-stop like wild rabbits in a rundown hotel amid
the vibrancy that’s New York.

Me, with my leaky pinkeye and you still willing to kiss
my devoted mouth. Your plump lips on mine lingering
like the moment I first learned to swim—

tossed into the deep end, rising naturally for air knowing
then no rushing river could ever claim me, no kisses empty
of promises you never made as we returned to regimented

lives never again to touch, to palm your ample breasts
in my hands, caress curves enough to match my own, mercy—
to nibble the tender nipple, to flick the jewel between my teeth,

you in a downpour and I catching rain on my tongue.

 

Venus Thrash is the author of the poetry collection, The Fateful Apple (Hawkins Publishing, 2014), nominated for the 2015 Pen America Open Book Award. Her poetry has been published in Public Pool, Torch, The Arkansas Review, and in the anthology Resisting Arrest: Poems That Stretch the Sky. Thrash is the recipient of a 2016 writer’s residency at The Vermont Studio Center. She’s a co-director of the Joaquin Miller Poetry Series, a Cave Canem graduate fellow and a Summer Seminar in Kenya and Fire and Ink scholar. She is a full-time writer and mom. To read more by this author: "Ritual," The Wartime Issue, Spring 2006; Five Poems, Summer 2007; Four Poems, It's Your Mug Anniversary Issue, Spring 2009.