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Linda Neal

Fish and All

< < < Come back.
Tell me the story about the fish,
the one Hubert gave us,
the one we wrapped in cheese-cloth soaked in oil,
"the best way to bake a fish."
> > > Come back
so we can remember together
how the fish started to smoke
as I started to come, how
the neighbor flipped his porchlight on
outside our bedroom window.
Did the baby start to cry?
Or was that I > > >
just as the smoke entered the bedroom
and the summer air opened our life
> > > my body singing Coltrane, you becoming
the Seventh Son of the Seventh Son
making me the woman coming
under the blue coverlet
< < < so much space for sadness
within the confines of that small bed
your arms young,
your body shocked
as I who was no who, no I, but all becoming
while the fish smoldered
in its compartment of gauze
and the baby in the basinet throated
his new voice, and I ululating too
< < < If I push the fish deeper
into the story, push the bodies deeper
into each other, we will see the baby
holding the memory of that evening
when his parents loved so much
the room began to burn.

The Burgeoning

There are big dicks and small,
peckers and penises, cocks
of all shapes called Johnsons.
Rods and plumtree ticklers, each one a stick,
a gun, a tube that shoots, but where
is the name for the tender root
that finds its way inside me, like a child
searching for a nipple? Where is the gentle
animal word like, pussy, for the male member?
A name like lotus or pomegranate,
a flower or fruit that grows and gives
a seed and pushes its gentle head
into the core of me? What could we call
this stem that through the skin fuse
drives me to meet the infinite,
that joins with me in the plant realm
of flower and tree?
There must be a name for the malleable bud
that grows between us and joins us together
in the ritual of coming and coming.
Could we call it redwood? No. That's
too impenetrable, too tall, too hard
for the sweet rumpus and buzz
of the supple plant
that sings its way into me on a night
when the light filters in from the hallway,
and the bed's a rumpled field of wet white lilies.

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