This Close

Dorianne Laux
  • Dorianne Laux
  • In the room where we lie, light
  • stains the drawn shades yellow.
  • We sweat and pull at each other, climb
  • with our fingers the slippery ladders of rib.
  • Wherever our bodies touch, the flesh
  • comes alive. Heat and need, like invisible
  • animals, gnaw at my breasts, the soft
  • insides of your thighs. What I want
  • I simply reach out and take, no delicacy now,
  • the dark human bread I eat handful
  • by greedy handful. Eyes, fingers, mouths,
  • sweet leeches of desire. Crazy woman,
  • her brain full of bees, see how her palms curl
  • into fists and beat the pillow senseless.
  • And when my body finally gives in to it
  • then pulls itself away, salt-laced
  • and arched with its final ache, I am
  • so grateful I would give you anything, anything.
  • If I loved you, being this close would kill me.

Dorianne Laux is an American poet who grew up in San Diego. When she was a young single mother and a waitress, she began taking poetry-writing workshops and eventually moved to San Francisco and attended St. Mary’s College. She is currently Poet in Residence at North Carolina State University and also teaches for the Pacific University Low Residency MFA Program in Oregon. She is married to the poet Joe Millar. “This Close” is from Laux’s collection What We Carry, published by BOA editions in 1994, and is reprinted by permission. Author’s photo is by Jeanne Finley.

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