August in West Hollywood
All day I watch the neighbor's boy
paint the side of his house.
He seems to rest so easily on the ladder rungs,
shirtless, lanky-limbed, hips tilting in the sun.
In the morning, I am the house, blueing beneath his brushstrokes,
each rib a shingle, my breasts, windowpanes, my waist,
the broad wood planks flattening beneath his brushstrokes,
my shoulders, shutters, lips and eyelashes fluttering eaves.
By four, I'm the roller brush,
turned and turning in his working hands.
Come dusk, I'm the open pail of paint
beside him on the grass--wide-mouthed, emptied.
The neighbor's house breathes in its new skin beneath the streetlamp.
It puts its face to the darkness and does not recognize itself.
-- Deborah Landau
From The Best American Erotic Poems. Click here to order it.
Today at 1 PM, David Lehman will present "Wild Nights: The Poetry of Eros" at the New School's Lang Auditorium (55 West 13 Street, 2nd Floor). He will talk about a range of poems on erotic themes, principally by American poets from Whitman and Dickinson to the present.