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Three Poems

On Gratitude

Outside, crows roost on telephone wires
and the palm trees sway in the wind.

Across the street, an elated dog
drags its owner toward the fire hydrant.

For breakfast, I’ll brew tea
and microwave oatmeal and bask

in the scent of cinnamon. I’ll go outside
to pick limes from the tree, inhale

the freshly-cut grass, and lick the salt
from my upper lip. I’ll watch children ride

their bikes, laughter like windchimes.
The sun predictably risen again, rays

filtering through the forest, lighting
up leaves. These I can always count on:

bark, arboreal things. Lying on the lawn,
I’m grateful for the cushion of clover

beneath me, the squirrel scampering
up the tree, the sky’s suspicious blue.

Scent of grass, dome of sky. I love
it all today: smoke scent, fraying hem

of my shirt, bread tanning in the toaster.



When I wrote about the moon,
+++++what I meant is that I’m full

of longing. Which is another word
+++++for hunger, for thirst,

because to fill and be filled
+++++is another need,

by which I mean necessity, or something
+++++primal. When I wrote

about the moon: an O in the sky,
+++++a wound, a mouth,

what I meant is please mouth
+++++the wound of me, touch me

warm and wet and christen me
+++++yours. When I wrote

about thumbing the edge
+++++of a plumeria, what I meant

is your skin is petal-soft,
+++++and I want to breathe in your scent

again and again. When I wrote
+++++about how we lay in the grass,

bodies closer than skin,
+++++I meant your eyes scrape me

skinless. And, now,
+++++when I call myself tender,

what I mean is I’m ready for you
+++++to sink in your teeth, take me

into your body,
+++++swallow me whole.


Crime Against Nature

I worked hard to turn this hunger into rhyme,
dividing these days into lines and pages
torn like clover, milkweed, a crime
against nature, this desire to destroy ageless

as air, as breath careening forward, lips
purpled with want, our limbs plumed
in sweat, jeans quickly shed from hips
and discarded in yellow blooms

that whistled in the cool breeze, mist
devouring everything, the flooded creek
bed, colliding thighs, grass grown swift
above our heads, the rose of your cheeks,

rain I half-wished could drown me
and turn me back into something clean.

Despy Boutris serves as editor-in-chief of The West Review.