Like Pomona by Colleen Kimsey

You come to me like Vertumnus, in costumes to catch me, but I am not so sure about the Pomona part. I’m Irish, not Greek, darling.

Today, you wear nude Cuban stockings that lick your legs as you swagger towards me in the orchard. I pretend I am interested in pruning the plum trees. I’m not. The ferny curlicues of hair between your legs beckon, but I want to teach you something about hard work and responsibility and the kissing cousin closeness of delay and desire.

The next day, you try again. I’m in the vegetable patch where the smooth skin of the summer squash reminds me of eight year old golden Guatemalan girls, lined up neatly waiting for chocolates outside the corner store. You present yourself in full femme array, your garter all steelgun gray and silk and snaps. The black patent leather of your heels is as slick as industry. The spikes sink gently into the compost.

Darling, I know I know I know you are the one I want to sleep under the earth with (even thought you drove me sleepless above it). I want our bones to moulder and the next gardener not to be able to tell whose fat fed these tomatoes. And I know I want to brush my fingertips across your cervix with the same prayerful intensity I feel for the first valiant asparagus of spring. But this, my sunshine, my springtime, my delight and my humus, darling blackberry bramble in my side, this will not do. You depart in a huff. You have a clump of horse manure on your right heel.

The leeks are almost grown before you try again. This time, you present yourself to me as some splendid hipster city nymph, artfully slouching on my seven hundred year old olive tree. The olives themselves are still as green as absinthe, a comparison I want to share with you, but I don’t. The dragonfly wings behind your ears are a nice touch, as is the horseshoe branded into your neck with the vagueness of healed flesh and scars. It’s turned upwards to catch all the luck and all the breaks, same as you always do. The sides of your head are shaved and through the peach fuzz I can see FEM rendered in bold Sailor Jerry font. Maybe, maybe closer I think, but you are so caught up in lighting your cigarette in that way that illuminates all the studious hollows of your face (and while sometimes I think about watching you smoke in cafes in places that have cobblestone and cable and capitalism), I stick around just long enough to make sure you don’t ash in the eggplant and split.

Beautiful, breakdown, best arrangement of carbon and hope and arrogance I’ve yet met- you need to try a little harder. You’ve left marks on me the same way baby pumpkins will take fingerprints in their flesh, and grow them into portraits rendered through the body itself. My heart is not elusive. It is unsophisticated and greedy. Enough of this artifice. What I would really like to do is chain you to my body and sing for days and days and days.

So I will wait while you try again. You give me strapping solider girl in a camo bikini with boots I assume you got some skinny subby girl to black, Carmen in black lace and merengue (I appreciate the lapdance, but the carrots need to come out of the ground so I left) big girl butch in grey wool trousers and matching vest, Lolita in ankle socks and pennyloafers and before you flounce off, you make sure I notice you are not wearing any panties under your bubble skirt. You are about as subtle as an earthquake.

Finally, come one dying September sunset, you get it. I am pulling the last of the leeks when suddenly, here you are. You have finally understood the power of you nakedness, radiant and trusting as a sapling. The hair between your legs is as downy as dill, and I imagine, just as soft. The bruises on the corona of your hipbones, the silvery stretchmarks between your legs, red spots, broken veins, I want to run my tongue over all of it. You are the fruit from an orchard that flooded last spring, a redwood cathedral in a forest that could build itself only after fire.

You tell me: I want you on every hill in Lebanon, under every tree.

How this telling of the story ends. Afterwards I leave your hands tied to the headboard Penelope grew for me. You are stretched long and languorous, a garden of delights on display. Your paleness on the river green moss. I feed you slices of mango. You take them from my fingers with great tenderness and care. The ripeness runs in rivulets and when I lick you clean, cannot tell one sweetness from the other.