for the curve of dismounts
She lifts her head to gift the stars white
smoke and my lips are drawn to the floral
arch of her neck, inching higher, the swirl
her fragrant exhalations make becoming night:
breath to air, dust to dust – we are mortals
drenched in a hummingbird sensation of time.
I have known moments like this; my naked torso
brown as the bark of the mango tree I’ve mounted,
its leaves camouflage while I watch my playmates
seeking me, excitement choking me the same way
her moving fingers make my breath hover. She catches
me in the corner of her eye, my lips tremble on her
skin before the giggle becomes sound: lightning to thunder.
Sometimes I was found – some girl or boy throwing stones,
breaking the amnios of leaves that protected me – but most
times I just got tired of waiting and shimmied down. Love
is a little like that – the playmates plentiful as pollen grains
yet only a few bursting beyond the red bubble of lust
to the heart, the after-giggle, where the smoke rings go.
from The Geez (Peepal Tree, 2020), © Nii Ayikwei Parkes 2020, used by permission of the author