The night he fed me oysters

alfred eisenstaedt

The night he fed me oysters and I thought maybe this is love

by Taylor Roberts

The night he fed me oysters and I thought,
Maybe this is love. It happened at the peak
Of the taste in a little French restaurant
In the middle of Virginia. The moment
When the salt of the brine hits your throat--that,
That moment--why not call it love? He fed
Them to me like love. He held each shell
In rugged hands that could have strangled me,
But, delicately, he offered them to my lips.

I am trying to measure those moments,
Repeating the motion in dozens.
Is a lifetime of pleasure divisible by 12?
Maybe it is. Maybe I am
Too hungry. I really wanted roses. I don’t
Know why my heart died a little each day
Without them; why my crimson heart chose
To close like a rose in winter without friends.

I don’t know why his eyes were enough
To take me to the edge of the cliff, and
Not enough to make me undo my coat and to
Pour my body into the sand where it touches
Both the ocean and the sun all at once.
Why the feeding with his hands could only
Feel like love if we kept repeating it,
Thinking maybe if we do it again and again
The pearl will fall into my teeth and
We’d know.
We’d know.

I am really a pearl diver, a body of sand.
I can wait here, under the feet of
Tourists to be swallowed, myself, by the
Oyster, instead of the other way around.
I can wait until a piece of my existence
Is stolen in its trap and covered completely
In pearl, because nothing is worth the crimson
Pain of a closing rose, not even when
He feeds you decadence, not even when
He wants to love you well.

I don’t know why my lips were not enough
To pull the pearl from his hands
But you know, I loved trying.
I did love trying.

I did.

[copyright Taylor Roberts, 2015]

1 comment

Anonymous said...

I love this poem

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