A soul heavy as wet July.
Steam rising from the grass
lazily curling and uncurling its come-hither fist
in blue efficiency streetlight.
Windows fog over
in droplet-streaming screens obscuring
the midnight hush-your-mouth in each
of a line of bricked and columned houses.
This is a city morally opposed to sidewalks,
where stoplights go down at eleven.
This is a city whose treacherous shoulders I trudged
for a decade in the dark.
I am reminded of a cool autumn night in Tennessee when I turned off the lights in my room, lit a single black candle smelling of the last anticipations of November, and turned on a gentle jazz album. I slipped into a slip of a nightie, black and silky. I set the candle on my windowsill, made a hot and heady drink, and crawled under the blankets. I opened the window to give myself a shiver of autumn on my bare shoulders. I sipped my drink with the jazz, watched the candle flame, and felt the familiar tingle of sex, but softly—foreplay with the beauty of my self, and the beauty of the night, the flame, the music, the heat and sweet on my tongue.