after the painting by Gustav Klimt
You stir, unfurl from our sheets,
cheeks scumbled with sleep, to swathe
in satin, silk. I refuse to dress, but spend
the day nude and pale against these walls.
All buttocks and hips, you offer your hand
as I streak past, strum the bow of my back
with your palm, the left, and with the other,
thumb my nipple as if it were braille;
language written only for your touch,
read through the soft pad of a finger
or flit of your tongue as you bow
to my breast, taking its small weight.
On your knees, you trace the scar which seeps
down my thigh like wax, as if to heal, then scan
my legs for pocks, moles, flecks to count
and christen; Nova, Leo, Sol.
Later, we strain our tea, needles of jasmine,
which I sip with stomach bared, doubled
over itself in two full folds. Then, laughing,
you step from your layers of cloth,
sit beside me, skin to skin, until, wooed to bed,
we hold each other; a coil of cool limbs,
girlfriends, painting one another
on the canvas of our linen sheet.
unpublished poem, © Ella Duffy 2019, used by permission of the author.