Cry Buona Notta

by Lisa Martinovic

Buona notte, he said
Do you know what that means?

the dance is over
house lights bright sting
my eyes watch musicians tired packing
a 45 hissing skips in a groove
our clothes stained muscles aching
glass slippers shattered feet bleeding
I cling, I beg for one last hug
He sighs assent
lets me curl and snake ‘round his chest
thick and muscled chest I’ve stroked and
clutched all primal urgency suckling
I became with him I became
the pleasure and succor I found
bound up in his arms but

that dance is over
our beat fading, rhythm gone
his arms wooden, hands limp in his lap
as if the ordeal had exhausted every fiber
drained his will
this chill more icy than words that time
that time he whispered
I think you want to be violated
a frantic tango I will not learn
nor ever forget
the nameless naked waltz
that called us to this place
the steps that led us to be one
two, three, dip and sway
one, two, three

Ciao, bella, he murmured
I leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek
I felt his sweet soft lips brush against my prickling skin and
pause just long enough for me to hope

that he might linger
might change his mind
might bring the tips of his fingers to my chin
deftly turn my lips to his
and take me down with him once again

he paused long enough for me wonder
how can one body contain two men
the only man who met my ache where she hides
cradling her tender between steady pumping beats
of his heart, a man
who cries for lambs slaughtered and
love poems sung him sharing shoulders with this mongrel
who turned fangs on me
suddenly struck rabid, a savage
of the late night street fight he
thrills to bloodsport, no
I can’t wrap my mind around
this contradiction so I spin my prayers tighter still
around this wounded child as if
I could ever save him

Captive in his pause
I cannot save myself from falling
helpless into the memory
of his hand searching for mine
our fingers interlacing, straining, squeezing, releasing
while we kissed we were inhaling
one another’s dreams
while we fed hungers we could not name he held
this part of me that never gets held
while making love we were bound in ragged grace
blind to shadows veiled by tangled layers
of desperation and desire, I
remember nothing
but the tingling heat of his moist palm
igniting my
synapses firing like Chinese New Year
the intoxicating cocktail of adrenaline and endorphin
flooding every edgy nerve
arousing thirsty worlds
erupting in sensation
more fierce than orgasm quaking
in the peril of surrender

and in that agonizing pause of his flesh against mine
I remember wondering will I ever feel that touch again
and knowing that if I don’t
I’ll die searching

I felt his sweet soft lips brush against my prickling
skin and pause just long enough
for me to hope