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Vinegar Running South

by Stephen Kessler

There’s white mold growing
on the vapo-rub jar
in your bathroom cabinet, love,

& something’s stuck inside
my chest, my tongue
expertly pickled in your spit & your long hair
once more closing its locks
around my wrists.
                                     Please, love,
not the leg-irons again,
not the moist pink lips
of your monkey on mine
& please
not the envelope-glue lubricant
melted for my sake
off your collected unsent letters.

It’s all true,
the vinegar running south on the thigh’s highway,
the lost love resounding on the pedal steel,

& will the vicious circus
go unbroken—

bicycle chain of the uphill struggle
bringing a chain of white bodies
to warm me
& calm the chronic longing—

but no,
but thank you—please—
it’s nothing
a good night’s sleep-walk
won’t relieve.


Stephen Kessler’s poems have appeared in various magazines. (Spring 1975)

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