Four Thoughts on Affection

I regard you with strong liking here,
on red-washed trails in the Autumn Shenandoah,
a dirt and leaf tapestry in heart colored crimson.
I wither as your lips push out
into the crisp, wet day.

Then dinner is ready, salmon and noodles,
and our socked feet amble along hard wood.
We laugh for silly songs, push forward
as a ripple on water,
and our eyes meander from table to hand to lips again.

That night, I finally expose you — your ardor so raw
I shake at it and wither again —
and watch your gasps push sweetly
as steam through a tea pot vent.
These are moments I want to run long.

I dream we are tall grass,
blown into entangled braids and my sleepy hand
touches the dark halo on your breast.
In this meadow we bend and weave
beneath a sky in revision from gray to blue.

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Love, Sex, Delicious, Love

There is no weakness in yielding, the sympathy
of immaculate sex, the ways you stir me deep:
your tender, quick breath and bold attempts
to speak truth to me. I have kissed you
from here to Durango, a long, invigorating road
that gassed us from first touch, a slight passing
as our cheeks grazed. Even the first pioneers
felt no such thrill rolling blindly West,
their nights curled in sex

as the open country awaited them.

I strain for your breasts when I sleep
alone, I grasp for you, to feel your lips
on my back, to taste your tears in the night —
the sensual base. I have traced a long journey,
a finger from your longest toe
and the upward route until I come to rest
on your smooth, loved brow. And yet
I have pounded my fists in the slowest parts
of night alone; only God can know

how slight living can become.

We both know how the unknown grooms madness,
how the idea of a last touch rips
the road away from us, lets us stumble through
uncut fields, the irony of a surrounding harvest bounty.
We are potential, this idea that something is ahead:
love that wipes away that typical sex,
that good, shaking sex,
to be supplanted by this crippling madness.

We walk without shame,

we touch others still, a stiff walk
into a gale wind, the image of other hands
cupping you, of other lips slipped delicately
in place. But I know of this delicious want,
this thing, your body,
and I will suffer this endless trek with hope
to again be between those parts of you,
to look down, your hair gripped tightly in my hands,
and speak without words
as our tongues are occupied by knowing.

The First Man/Woman Team to Mars

“Fucking magnificent,” the man astronaut says, his suit nearly perfect
and sealed. Slick gas fumes caress their nostrils
as the rocket engines warm ten minutes before launch. The woman gazes
into some inner caution, the image of that little girl she was

crying at the table, her cheek still stung from her father’s hand.
And now they each step to the platform, rise to their small tube
at the tip of the monstrous thing. He allows her in first, then ducks
casually and sets his back snug into the seat, as the launch crew

straps them down and leaves. The man set of hands and the woman set of hands
each busy themselves with mundane tasks while still on Earth,
though their labored breath suggests anticipation. They would be the first
to gasp at the valleys of Mars. No humans would understand. And they

would fuck, they agreed, fuck all the way through space, feet
unbound from that sphere of dirt. He has a hard-on now, thinking of her floating
form as his heart rate registers on a ground control screen, alarming
a medical team of three. “I can’t wait to get up there with you,” he says

to the space-suited woman astronaut

and reached for her hand as the countdown ended.
She, red-haired and clean, clasped his glove quickly before exhaling.
Then the numbers went backward from ten, and they groaned from the pad,
sucked immensely downward, exhilarating moments

of consciousness, and then the heavy edging upward,
Blackness seeped  through the window view. Within minutes they ripped off
their restraints and flew to their controls, reading, and turning, and
clicking their way on a trajectory to Mars. “Why do you think they let a man

and woman go together,” he asked, and then floating close her ear,  “God,
I want to suck your tits.” She gave a hard crank to a valve before turning to him
and then moved her lips in the most deliberate way. She responded with fierceness,
“Because they want us to fuck, you fool. Those men believe

this empty space needs to be filled with something. So fine,  get your goddammed mouth between my legs while I dump these last tanks.”
They hurtled through space in weightless carnality, he in no hurry to find
life anywhere else, and she along for the ride.