by Caroline Hagood
Published: March 15th 2010
Word Pornography

Despite the difference in the smell of the night,

this is our typical post-work evening: you sleep while I type,

but in this New York after-dark, the sight of your sleeping elbow,

hair-kissed, stroked by the last light of 6:30, 

maybe even holy somehow, slays me. 

There are so many things that I should be doing right now,

but I refuse to stop staring at you. You so often sleep

in long sleeve shirts, it’s cruel, really, we women

are insatiable, too. So this peek of meat is a rare treat, 

and I am either a pervert or a disciple.  

Seeing this unguarded part of you, my mind unfolds

its wonder layers.  It’s true that I get overwrought too easily,

but who in their right mind wouldn’t covet this unseen slice of you?

this glistening man-thing that lies in my bed, 

and belongs, miraculously, to me.

I feel lucky on this rainy Thursday to be able to say

that the elbow I have to look at for the rest of my life

is rather ravishing.  I write this because, if I don’t, 

I might combust, or run around our staid Manhattan neighborhood,

a mad saleswoman hawking your sleepy wares,

and that would be awkward.

The green polka-dotted sheets set it off nicely

and I pay tribute to it with my word porn, 

making of you a centerfold in the magazine of my mind.

Right now, I love you so much that I could go fly a kite,

but somehow I resist that humiliation. 

Maybe I watch you sleep just for the marital perk 

of seeing pieces of your skin illuminated

by the dying evening light. They remind me

of the promise I made to love you for always,

but really of the pieces of your skin

illuminated by the dying evening light.
Caroline Hagood is a poet living in Brooklyn, New York,