by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish

I was born of water, to water,
but live in the desert—the cholla, the
mountain's granite spires, the Apache
plume, the piñons, still yet not home.
Not humid. Not swampy. Not thick with
sweltery intimacy. Monsoon showers
rare this year, the tv turned off to listen
to thrumming rain upon the roof.

On the front porch facing the storm,
half a second between lightning strike
and thunder. I should be in the moment,
should absorb this rain-blessed breeze
slowly, deliberately . . . I thirst for it.

But all I can think of is you—
how wet I was with you, how
stunning the moment, how delicate your
kisses fell on the back of my neck,
my hair twisted up in your fingers, lifted
away to make room for your mouth—
how strange that the word delicate
should appear in a poem for you.

I would send you this memento,
but just yesterday you praised me
for my restraint in all things emotional
and I would not want to disappoint
or disquiet you. Instead, I'll hide these
words in my body, bring them as gifts,
in hope that you, unsuspecting, might inhale
them as if they were nothing but damp night air.

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