They were the malleable boys
we came by so easily, ubiquitous, shallow–
but glowing warm and bronzed.
We knew they were too soft but we wore
them on our arms like jewelry.
They got into your blood. Men
who ran to rigid, pig-headed. Stubborn
or crude. Meteoric tempers—molten cores
raging. Love’s heat could bring a certain bloom
but they never really melted.
The occasional good one—not forged
in too hot a fire, hammered too long.
Pure-hearted, standing strong as the ancient
pillar in Delhi.
The incandescent ones! So ready
to be drawn into mischief. Robust,
yet frangible–they could take the heat.
……………….You never forgot
the Russian, delicate as filament
that snaps unexpected, leaves
you in the dark.
These were the ones we lost
weight for, in love with their blue-white skin,
so lustrous in moonlight that fell
across sheets. We were sick
without them. I won’t say
they were magnetic, yet
they burned with red heat,
and drinking them in, breathing
deep, we got the shakes.
Always the new guys
in the neighborhood– young
and light on their feet. They were the best
dancers, handed off so that every one got to tango.
Always coming round to us again for the last waltz.
They loved the tropics; could never decide
what they wanted to be called.
Tenacious. Souls sintered
to a brave bloom. Spirit heated to melting
and poured to molds by someone singing
while they work, who takes the time to burnish
and name what is broken out of the form.
Good-tempered ally. Cool. If you could take
one away from your best friend, you would.
………………………………..That hard to find.
Michigan writer Lynn Pattison’s work has appeared in The Notre Dame Review, Rhino, Smartish Pace, Rattle, Tinderbox, and KYSO Flash, among others, and been anthologized in several venues (most recently in NASTY WOMEN POETS, An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, ed. Grace Bauer & Julie Kane (Lost Horse Press, University of Washington). She is the author of three poetry collections: tesla’s daughter (March St. Press); Walking Back the Cat (Bright Hill Press) and Light That Sounds Like Breaking (Mayapple Press).