Three Poems

by L. Bellee Jones

Ring of Dust

Wasn’t trying to mark my territory, suck away
your past or future. Simpler to slice ripe skin,
mouth seeds and watch you, than to kiss you.
You’re counting again, penciled mathematics
I take for granted, circles of papers, concentric,
surrounding us. I know how blood refreshes,
heaves us toward the sky. I know numbers rest
on your fingertips, sensible lines on swirls. I know
these stains are heavy, permanent. Outside,

the moon pulls away from us. The earth pulls bones
slowly deeper and wishes for more than sadness, brevity,
a clavicle. For more than popping stems of pomegranates,
jealous fruits the shade of Saturn, oval galaxies on the inside.

When my tongue stains your neck, put away
your rules, and understand the envy of rings.
Figure the weight of seeds inside a mouth of dirt.

Singing The Sun Your Sleep

Double in an odd measure, in the time it took dark to settle, sway
onto our shoulders, for the mosquito bites and plastic to come.
Praise those who think to forge such wonders.  Praise the one
who remembered aerosol, the one who was not me but you.
Easy to mix the poison on your skin with the gin burn, my slow
mouth.  Easier still, alive and sinful close, covered with dirt
and DEET.  And sweat.  And each other, though we barely
touched, rare lack, sparing the lack and sky for love and possible
love.  Still, the poison slicked my fingertips.  Your arm
flexed percussion, need inside my open palms, and I held you
with two hands.  Praise the gift of tension, a Sunday growing
bright against my skin.  Light remained there lurid until you slept,
smiling.  I measured the space between us, so modestly, just so.
The sun made promises as I closed my eyes against the plural, against the burgeoning noise of the morning.  No we.  Just one bite.

The Hours Missing Sun

Dark, today; black bird underbelly in the sky well
nigh noon. The sun should rise any minute. My wrists

are fishlike. The bones inside are delicate, bleached already
—they rattle as my hands flip back and forth.

My fourth lover needed bait.  So, he wormed his heart
from his chest and stuck it in his pocket, none the worse

for wear, tied the thing in strings and kept it warm, close,
where he could finger that bright muscle until the morning

came for hooks.  The line is taut, the dawn dim and raucous,
the river high and rushing.
Hush. It’s a riddle.

A bird catches fish in the dark; there is just one heart.
The sun will rise, any minute, with some answer.

L. Bellee Jones-Pierce studies medieval and early modern literature at Emory University. A 2010 graduate of the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama, Bellee also holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Georgia College & State University. Her poems have appeared in Roger and Rhino. Her most recent research interests include homosocial relationships in lyric poetry (specifically John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets), the use and form of lyric in non-lyric genres, and the seventeenth-century epithalamium.

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