I want to tell you
about the rhubarb in the conference room.
Sharp words tossed round enhanced by gestures
then came retorts, even side glances.
The subject was beside the point.
I want you to tell me about a lot of things:
How does it feel to have men
survey your lovely curves or
exactly why your eyes turn milky
when we make love. It’s as if
you become a god to yourself,
everything melds into the present.
Maybe it’s like that for others.
I can’t say, but I want that for you, for us.
These seem to be connected
in some way. Maybe this is why speech
is sometimes called verbal intercourse,
because in both there is a kind of play
that reveals the soul.
It reminds me that this language
nails things down to keep them open.
You can pick and choose,
make things fit your mood
or style, or change those altogether,
inviting to some, and to others
a challenge that dispatches them to the hills.
I saw this this evening lounging
in the hotel, my vision lowered
to the journal’s blank page
for what turned out to be a long time,
but seemed like no time at all.
I’m looking forward to the in-room meal,
the movie I’ll watch, my call to you
when I’ll tell you I miss you,
Hell, we might even have phone sex
and after I’ll slip into sleep,
my mind creating in swirls
of reds, greens, a world of its own.
But don’t worry. Tomorrow I’ll wake.
The sun will come up. The coffee will brew.
I won’t be passed over.
Under my door, my bill will arrive.
Dale Cottingham is of mixed race, part Choctaw, part white. He is a Bread Loafer, won the 2019 New Millennium Award for Poetry and is a finalist in the 2021 Great Midwest Writing Contest.