Her rhinestone coral boots were scuffed as a fighter’s eye,
she straddled a cast-iron chair, squinting through smoke
how long will you wait to whisk me home? 

When you are old as I am, devotion is brief, simple, and infrequent,
and I realized she never took off her socks, or her brassiere
but I’m looking for a contradiction to inhabit, for it to

twirl its black curls on my fingers, dip deep in her dimples,
nudge-off corners, angles rounded in regalia of who she was
—and she swallowed every corner of my mouth.

Oliveira walked out while I made tea in a silver samovar my mother
gifted with weathered, wispy copies of Nabokov’s Lolita and Mashenka
—the walls a color too cloudy-mauve for her, I should consider 

forest green, she said. Last week I saw her buying halibut on the dock, 
shouting orders. I fell for her and her chihuahua, the way that babies cry
—unabashedly for their mothers. It’s all I felt that day. I followed 

her home wishing to be that dog. We went for coffee. She dazzled
like mirrors at noon at the mention of her name.  Today
—she fizzles down into salt and tide: a dark twilight of starlight 

at the slightest hint of my interest, giving way to asphalt and silence.
Today I’m an ache hysterical. Sundial discarded, howling at this
—salty skin and hair crowding and crossing Polynesian archipelagos 

now—and her kiss?—winds to blow Arabian sands home.  
Pushpins to close the parts and hollows in the carpet 
—of a bedouin’s door.