MY PAST LIFE AS A MAN
If you stand near me, I’ll say this is my life now, not the one before this,
me as the young clerk who ground Gustav Klimt’s pigments with lapis lazuli,
rubies, small flakes of gold, who died of flu with Egon, Gustav, Edith, Eduard and
half of Vienna. I still sense his young body rising in the spring before the grip
of epidemic, making coffee in the iron light, sliding the linens off Danae or Judith,
desire a thing he could taste, his damp hand now mine, slipped under his smock,
the sigh of his pockets, the moan grazing his face. I still ache for the ease of the penis,
the accessibility, language of hard or less hard, fingers quickly finding the soul of it
like an intimate tongue. Sometimes I dream of that boy on his deathbed, calling for water,
a cold cloth, just before he dies, the atoms of him beginning to collapse,
pass like a parcel of dust to a woman not even born yet, a poet, her sex
hidden but wild with those few flecks of gold.
DEBORAH ALLBRITAIN lives in San Diego, California where she writes, studies and teaches poetry. Her work has appeared in The Antioch Review, The Cortland Review, The Taos Review, Michigan Review, Mainstreet Rag, Connecticut River Review, the Cimarron Review and Serving House Journal, and has been anthologized in Stand Up Poetry: The Anthology, The Unmade Bed: Sensual Writing on Married Love (Harper Collins), The Book of Birth Poetry: An Eloquent and Ebullient Celebration of the Miracle of Life and In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop (Tilbury House). Her work has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she is a recent finalist for the Wabash Poetry Prize, the Bellingham Prize for Poetry, and the Florida Review’s 2015 Editors’ Award in poetry.
Read more by Deborah Allbritain: