I know it has something to do with ambience,
waiting for the one lotus set out to drift, seven
fragile drops of expense, steam hued blue, a plate
of sweets. I know to wait: let the stream sheet
over her wrist, let fingertips design languid
curls in the foam. But the most important of all:
let the measuring out unfold. Watch carefully
the crush of glittering bars, the pour of slow
creams, the deliberation of scent—bergamot
or ginger, magnolia, clary sage, clove, honey.
I’ve learned to bide while she turns away,
fetches a glass of wine, a perfect apple. I must
hold my breath a last, hot second before skin
dips to cleave the surface, and then I let go,
swift pocket of frost, sprint of ice, let the teeth
sink in and tear her to shivers.
Abigail Cloud is editor-in-chief of Mid-American Review and teaches in the Department of English at Bowling Green State University, from which she holds an MFA. Recent poetry credits include REAL, The Mom Egg, and Gettysburg Review. Her poetry collection, Sylph, is due from Pleiades Press in 2014.
Art Credit: Jean-Leon Gerome, detail of “A Moorish Bath (Turkish Woman Bathing), No 2,” 1870