Aubade With Mosquito Bites
Hunger is the only spell, the first warning.
& you could say I wanted to draw it out
so mostly I drank water. I needed melty ice
to cool my tongue & teeth & was that hotel room
still lit this morning—lit all night long, really—
& were we really there? Bellies full of mushroom,
onion & moon. I left you before your night-blooming
jasmine crumpled like a tissue & I wonder if you heard
its velvet song as you shuffled to your car. I’m still
on the curb, a firefly’s forgotten little lamp. Or maybe
I’m the wolf spider we saw in the orchard, her back
spilling over with her tiny babies. No stonefruit could
sweeten that bit of pity we both held for her
in that exact moment. How I wanted to taste your lips
right then & I know there will be delicious days
I don’t think of you but days I do will be full
of thorn & honey locust. How to say it? How to
pray it? I press the still-warm welts on my legs—
the last ones of summer—to feel their secret heats,
each bite a tender reminder to never return.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three books of poetry, most recently, Lucky Fish (Tupelo Press). She is associate professor of English at SUNY-Fredonia and teaches in the low-res MFA Program at Pacific University.