He Saw Me Fall

by Mary Skaggs

He saw me fall
my arms laden with birthday gifts
balloons and bags suddenly
festooned the midnight street
the spice rack Dana gave me
bounced under the
dark ford to my right

then he picked me up
bleed-knees and skin-peel palms
my dramatic rum-blood gush
and he saw me
bite swollen gloss-lips
blunt efforts to stave off tears

my Hawaiian dress in hip high hike
mango, grenadine, orange
he inhaled me and growled low
murmured that I smelled delicious as
he gathered me up and helped
me hobble barefoot to the car.

He sat concerned
on the side of my bathtub and
leaned over me
whispering shhhh baby
into my quiver ear
he circled my ankle with
a thumb, a finger

lifted my doll leg up
to his mouth, praising me
he washed my knees with
his warm tongue, wet and
gentle against my grated self

until finally I cried in
lightness and relief as
he carefully untied me
and my dress and
my history fell away.

Mary Skaggs, a native of Oklahoma, is currently a graduate student in Creative Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma.