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e x h i b i t   -     p o e m

Interval with Erato

by Scott Cairns

That's what I like best about you, Erato sighed in bed, that's why
you've become one of my favorites and why you will always be so.

I grazed her ear with my tongue, held the salty lobe between my lips. I feel like singing when you do that, she said with more than a hint
of music already in her voice. So sing, , I said, and moved down
to the tenderness at the edge of her jaw. Hmmm, she said, that's nice.

Is there anything you don't like? I asked, genuinely meaning
to please. I don't like poets in a hurry, she said, shifting
so my lips would achieve the more dangerous divot of her throat.

Ohhh, she said, as I pressed a little harder there. She held my face
in both hands. And I hate when they get careless, especially
when employing second-person address.
She sat up, and my mouth

fell to the tip of one breast. Yes, she said, you know how it can be --
they're writing "you did this" and "you did that" and I always assume,
at first, that they mean me!, She slid one finger into my mouth to tease

the nipple there. I mean it's disappointing enough to observe
the lyric is addressed to someone else, and then, the poet spends
half the poem spouting information the
you -- if she or he

were listening -- would have known already, ostensibly as well as,
or better than, the speaker.
I stopped to meet her eyes. I know just
what you mean,
I said. She leaned down to take a turn, working my chest
with her mouth and hands, then sat back in open invitation.
Darling, she said as I returned to the underside of her breast,
have you noticed how many poets talk to themselves, about themselves?

I drew one finger down the middle of her back. Maybe they fear
no one else will hear or care. I sucked her belly, cupped her sopping
vulva with my hand. My that's delicious, she said, lifting into me.

Are all poets these days so lonely? She wove her fingers with mine
so we could caress her there together. Not me, I said, and ran
my slick hands back up to her breasts. I tongued her thighs. I said, I'm not

lonely now. She rubbed my neck, No dear, and you shouldn't be. She clenched, Oh!
a little early bonus, she said; I like surprises. Then, so
few poets appreciate surprises, so many prefer to speak
only what they, clearly, already know or think they know. If I
were a poet... well, I wouldn't be be one at all if I hadn't
found a way to get a little something for myself -- something

from every outing, no? Me neither, I said, if somewhat indistinctly.
Oh! she said. Yes! she said, and tightened so I felt her pulse against
my lips. She lay quiet for a moment, obviously thinking.

Sweetie, she said, that's what I like best about you -- you pay attention,
and you know how to listen when a girl feels like a little song.
Let's see if we can't find a little something now, especially for you.


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