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Spring/Summer 2007, Volume 23.3

Poetry

William Winfield WrightPhoto of William Winfield Wright.


William Winfield Wrightís poems have appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Field, The Ninth Letter, The Seattle Review, The South Carolina Review, Third Coast, and elsewhere. He is a Fulbright scholar, having spent a year at the University of TromsÝ in Norway. He was born in California and lives in Grand Junction, Colorado.

 

Poems About Naked

Playing Doctor
We are naked of course
or rather I am
wearing a hospital gown
made from a pillow case
and you have on a lab coat
and a stethoscope
which you warm with
your hands before using.
I take extra deep breaths
hoping youíll notice
and say, "Dr. Jacobs"
after each question I answer.
You say, "You seem to be
doing fine" at the end
of every visit and
just before you leave the room.

Pirates of the Caribbean
We are naked of course
but as the cruise ship is full
of old people who go
to bed early our chances of
being caught are slight.
"Nothing like that unfortunateness
at Disneyland" I remark.
You come off the high dive
like an old satellite
down deep into the water
then come up again
to laugh in my wet face.

Early Promise
We are naked of course
but you are a toddler
half-a-head higher
than your playmates
changing clothes six times
a day or losing everything
with the crowning sun.
You do not yet boss
all of those around you
to play games only you can win
but then as now
in your early promise
you sing bathtub songs
all day long.

Cooking for Two
We are naked of course
on the hottest day
of this late Spring
you standing in front
of the open refrigerator
trying to convince
me that the tortilla
you hold out in both your hands
shows the exact likeness of
Saint Somebody or other
this to disguise the fact that
you drank all the apple juice.

Beauty Sleep
We are naked of course
asleep in a cold winter house
and under so many covers
we might as well be
wearing heavy clothes.
You say I look like
John Ruskin when I sleep
and threaten me with loneliness
should you ever catch me
pulling back the bottom comforter
to take your picture
in that sleeping mask.

The Elect
We are naked of course
blasted blitzed soused
inert in this or that favorite chair
taking quick redemptive
swigs of peppermint schnapps
whenever someoneís at the door
surprised by each Jehovahís witness
shamed at their unflappability
so much so
we promise renewed industry
find each otherís bathrobe
and pick up the house.

Making Arrangements
We are naked of course
or I am or you are
or we both are or will be
but getting us that way
will require
a closed casket
and an amenable funeral home.

Dance Lessons
We are naked of course
but your Audrey Hepburn
doesnít stay on
and all they had left
in my section was Van Johnson.
My feet still stumble over slow quick quick
even after all those lessons.
How about if
I get a real haircut
and you do that ponytail thing
from back when we first met?

View of the Water

We are naked of course
and without the palm trees
and soft sand that come
with money and airplanes.
We will not trouble through
approximations of the native language.
There are no helpful guidebooks
no must sees.
I will not put a string of flowers
around your neck in public.
There is just the bathtub
and these familiar towels.

Surprise
We are naked of course
both anxious and confident in the dark
you in the hall closet
waiting between coat and hanger
me in the crowded pantry
equidistant from soup and nuts.

Currency Exchange
We are naked of course
both of us reckless and surrounded.
I am deep inside of you
moaning and smiling into your face
at each stroke of our hips
and you have gone silent
like a church or a cafť
next to a church
where a man in a white apron
sweeps with an old broom
a brush really that
scratches at the cobblestones
and coaxes the few birds
up up into the air.

Conversation

We are naked of course
tangled and spent
neither paying much
attention after all the attention
to our crawl toward
the long flash and the now
too short and languid darkness.
What attention is available after that?
"What?" you say.
"What?" I say.

The Uses of Enchantment
We are naked of course
in the story I am telling
about a bear king and the princess
and you say, "This bear,
heís pretty smelly, right?"
"Well, yes. I suppose," I say.
"And the ground in that cave
itís sort of hard, isnít it?"
"Yes," I say and I nod my head.
"And itís always winter mostly there?"
"Yes. They have a white one and a green one."
"Ok," you say. "You be the princess
and I get to be the bear."

Testimony
We are naked of course
and no I would
never tell anyone.

 

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