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The Exchange

Alan King

after Rachel Eliza Griffiths, for Tos

Because the day’s threaded through hours
the way a skewer’s threaded through meat
and vegetables. Because I needed your whispers
misting in the cave of my ears. I look for you
in a blur of blue jays. Your lips are red-
bellied cardinals tangled in each other.
I listen for you in the sounds of trees
brushing their crowns against a cold wind
that’s become hard and flat as cymbals.
I descend the stairs to touch your face.
Give me your skewered hours, the meat
and vegetable of your days. My mouth—
a welcome below a waiting threshold. My eyes—
separate skies you search for stars. Each hour
roasting away. Their ghost aromas
haunting the air. The smell of oceans
leaves your pores, you having pedaled miles
back to me. Your locks coil like coral,
your eyes bright as a horizon above water.
I give you my mouth, flying to what glows
in your dusk-colored skin. Your laugh—
the wind returning from somewhere
at this moment. Give me the heat
in your embraces. Give me your face
nuzzled in my neck. Here. Take my hands.
You place your heel inside them,
as if fitting the glass slipper.

Alan King

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