The Histories

by Cathryn Hankla

I lay my offerings before her:
silk musk of unveiled breast,
pots of fragrant ointments,
small color blazes,
a dipping spoon into sweet
or savory, salt and spice.

Hauled within the body
electric, shimmering
in an opalescent oyster shell,
we trace curry, coriander.
A ritualistic trek to the twin
orifices of desire:

The mouth of taking,
the mouth of giving.
Where we sink,
where we rise
and what has been said
or done, we set afire.

CATHRYN HANKLA’s the author of eleven books of poetry and fiction, including Last Exposures: a sequence of poems and Fortune Teller Miracle Fish: stories. She is Professor of English & Susan Gager Jackson Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University.