Nebraska Center for Writers

by Denise Banker

In the corner of the room,
he stands, a poised spit,
a painted pillar, in the air
of being elsewhere.

Maybe tonight he has covered
himself in passionflower vine.
His fragrance fills the room.

My eyes are on him.
He lives in the back of my head,
and deep in my loins.

I balance the railroad tracks'
steel beam, walk its meander
alongside the curves
of slow-roiling Platte River
and her muted bluffs.

Today he is an oblate
in a monastery of his own making —

Oblatus, one offered up
My host, let me eat of the body.

From the bottom of his basket,
beneath the periodic burst
of flame, the gaseous inflations
of his hot air balloon, I dangle
from the tether-rope.
He must know Im here.

On the ground,
strangers point,
cover their mouths.

In his dapper, clubman's style,
he leads me on a leash
and willingly, I go, stumble
in debris, avoid backlashed
switches through which
I can barely make my way.

His abstruse accessories attract me
even though hes sentimental, selfish,
pernicious. An obnoxious man.
My obsequiousness irritates him.
He walks faster, and I blur the point.
Inarticulate the details I observe.

He speaks with incomprehensible pretension.

Tonight he wears satin underwear
laced slightly in patchouli
from a soap one of his sisters
gives him. I touch the smell,
drink his milky silk,
the words come slowly.

He drapes his shirts on the backs of my chairs.
His dander litters my brush.
He blows his horn in my ears.
A tease, a boy, that contagion
he thrusts, eats into my gut.

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2006
by Denise Banker

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The Rock

Nebraska Center for Writers