For Lena, 1987-2014
In the blue light of late-afternoon,
we take turns trying
We’ve lost by now the power
of language, our phrases a series of
forever—I love you—mine—
against opposite sides of the same wall.
But this afternoon, I say what I mean,
inching my mouth along her soap-
down to that delicate,
earthy place, the threshold of which
I tongue again
A Week Before Christmas,
Lena and I in her dorm room,
draped over the bed, fully dressed,
our hands groping for openings.
She’s supposed to be waiting outside for her brother.
They’re going to a family party down River Road.
Through the picture window, the dorm’s shadow
stretches like a castle across the snow.
Lena’s sapphire studs glitter.
Her neck smells like Europe.
I know exactly where to go,
how to make a tent of her still-buttoned
jeans with the back of my wrist—
Her brother’s fists
pound against the locked common room door.
Lena leaps up
like reverse lightning, smooths her hair,
kisses me fast and runs out to him laughing.
I don’t mind it yet, the door slamming,
the room watching to see what I’ll do.
Back then I knew
how to hold on,
how to let the cord between us spool out:
Lena’s body racing
through the fresh-spread dark.
The Last Time I Saw Her
Her hand, a cold wing, palm-to-palm
with mine, and her question I couldn’t—
Our love spun in
that first day
as if it had swung through a million times
we were what was new.
Mellifluous breeze. Curtains astir.
Both of us holding our breath.
Thank you, I finally said
but it rang like Fuck you.
About the Author:
Cassie Pruyn is a New Orleans-based poet born and raised in Portland, Maine. Her poems have appeared in AGNI Online, The Los Angeles Review, The Normal School, The Adroit Journal, Poet Lore, and others.
About All Accounts:
All Accounts and Mixture is an annual online feature celebrating the work of LGBTQ writers and artists. For this series, we seek work from authors who self-identify as “queer,” while acknowledging that this designation is subjective and highly personal. Our goal is to provide a forum for writers whose voices might be mis- or underrepresented by the literary mainstream.