it may be that a long time ago, as a baby,
we chose the way we tasted sugar
felt cotton and heard Bessie Smith
at 3 a.m. in the back of a dream
sitting at a table below a yellow lamp.
we blinked our eyes then had to live
between those soft parentheses
drinking wine or tearing at someone’s heart
and nightly laying our bodies down
to see a piece surrendered
that made us sane, made us hunger
for the span of some girl’s back
peering behind her, humming a chorus.
there are hues of light we’ll never see,
too subtle the taste of pepper.
but maybe if we rest tonight
say these names, feel their weight,
as your thigh touches my thigh
we can drink that blood, taste that pepper
and sing Bessie Smith like no one can
lying together in the burning, lovely night.
David Waite is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts
program from Goddard College where he studied under the
poet Beatrix Gates. He has poems forthcoming in
Greensilk Journal and Children, Churches and
Daddies and published articles on creative writing for
the website Poet’s Ink. He is currently the
assistant editor for Poet’s Ink Review and a
writing professor in the Syracuse, NY, area.