Let the dress, unzipped, drop from my shoulders, let me feel the lover’s breath close against my skin, and I close down. In my clothes I’m present to the occasion, enlivening committees with observations, parties with conversation. Monopoly doesn’t intimidate with its ruthless acquisition: the profusion of paper bills, sang-froid of glossy dice, seductive wooden houses and hotels make no incursion on the inner me. If fear can close down closeness—a touch, caress, the sharing of a joke or a good cry, the act of saying a genuine good-bye—something in me wants intimidate and intimate to be related, share the Latin stem from timore, “to fear.” And yet, no word is planted deep enough. I’m lucky when night’s indigo affords a crescent moon framed in the lattice of the window pane—a shiny horn on which to hang a scrap of something iridescent stolen from mystery. Our deepest selves are pre-linguistic, infantile, without an alphabet or grammar, no instructions for the mouth but Open. Let it fasten on the mother’s teat. No colors, manners, houses, or hotels; and yet their spores are liquid here in this, the font of intimacy. The essential risk and glory—all that, being given life, we thirst for, want.
Lucia Galloway is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Venus and Other Losses and Some Words for Meanwhile. Her second chapbook, The Garlic Peelers (2014) won the Quill’s Edge Press inaugural chapbook competition. Her poems appear in a variety of journals, including Mid-American Review, Nimrod, The London Review, The Sow’s Ear, Spillway, and Tar River. She enjoys participating in Southern California’s vibrant poetry community, where she co-curates Fourth Sundays, a reading series supported by Claremont’s Helen Renwick Library.