He slides his tongue in her ear. That wet heat
cold at the tip. That shudder of another
melding with you, and you him—stippled, sweet.
You savor and recoil from it. You slither.
So she turns from their couch to the window.
She checks beyond their reflected skins, and finds
no watcher in the blinking lines of snow.
There must be someone, though. Not just your mind.
Someone must cause this feeling—like fright, like elation:
this offering up, except who knows to whom.
She moves with him, and still the ghost sensation
searches, not nervous now, beyond the room:
the way, one time their son was sick, in bed
between them (warmth against her chest)
he twisted from their nuzzling and screamed
his loudest scream at the emptiness, but
burrowed back then, toddler murmur soft
on her neck, as if to make from damp skin
one center in the sectored sweep of night:
one source, where all returns to life begin.
PETER CAMPION is the author of three collections of poems, Other People, The Lions, and El Dorado, all from the University of Chicago Press’s Phoenix Poets Series, in addition to several monographs and catalog essays on such visual artists as Joseph McNamara, Terry St. John, Mitchell Johnson, Karl Knaths, Eric Aho, and Kim Frohsin. Peter is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Larry Levis Reading Prize, The Rome Prize (Prix de Rome) from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Guggenheim Fellowship. He directs the M.F.A. program at the University of Minnesota.
Read more by Peter Campion:
Selection of work at the Poetry Foundation
Poem in Blackbird
Poem in Plume