i am not pure
i am not your fantasy
of an innocent you can corrupt.
you think he took me?
you think i knew not what i did
when i laughed and placed those crimson seeds
upon my tongue?
do not mistake my kindness
i am forest fires and flower buds
i am poisonous thorns and newborn foals
i am death and rebirth—
cross me at your peril.
(you shall find that pretty rose vines
are just as lovely when they wrap tight over your limbs
and shatter your bones.)
my lord, he brings me bloodstained flowers,
and i give him kisses laced with venom
he gifts me graveyards to plant my orchids
and i send him the torn heads of men
who wrong my maidens.
(i teach them combat alongside botany. both are arts.)
he rules with iron fist and i
with gentle touch.
we live and love in a curious harmony
of sweet birdsong
and the tortured screams of sinners.
come springtide i am bound to earth,
to my mother’s sunfilled meadows
her unequivocal, enduring love.
and by the fading light of summer
i return to my lover’s onyx walls
and cimmerian heart.
i cherish both but they know
they would have no claim on me if i did not desire it
for i belong to myself,
i am only my own—
half flowering creation,
half blistering hellfire.
“I think about your thighs,” she wrote in the second letter, “and the warm, moist smell of your skin in the morning, and the tiny eyelash in each corner of your eye that I always notice when you first roll over to look at me. I don’t know why you are better and more beautiful than anybody else. I don’t know why your body is something I can’t stop thinking about, why those little flaws and ridges on your back are lovely to me or why the pale soft bottoms of your New Jersey feet that always wore shoes are more poignant than any other feet, but they are. I thought I would have more time to chart your body, to map its poles, its contours and terrains, its inner regions, both temperate and torrid - a whole topography of skin and muscle and bone. I didn’t tell you, but I imagined a lifetime as your cartographer, years of exploration and discovery that would keep changing the look of my map. It would always need to be redrawn and reconfigured to keep up with you. I’m sure I’ve missed things, Bill, or forgotten them, because half the time I’ve been wandering around your body blind drunk with happiness. There are still places I haven’t seen.”—Siri Hustvedt, What I Loved (via wolvesatmidnight)