what we do as animal marks us as animal…
the chaste page parts like a curtain
on that room of indelible shadows
your kiss burns my nakedness
first slap hard above my hip
blunt sharp each slap
builds a cave rose red flesh
for coupling like silvered cats
heat charged moon fevered
knowing only piercing thrusting
panting beyond urge of language
erasing our given names
Eve at Fifty
She forgot how wide she needs to spread her hips, an acrobat regaining her form, to straddle a man over and under—and when she takes him in her mouth, to incline her neck like a swan.
She forgot how constant coupling gives her a telltale gunslinger’s stance, how musk clings to her body even after washing, how blushes bloom on the hills and hollows of touch.
She forgot how to shed her invisible cloak, shave her body to a waxing moon, wear lace the color of night, tattoo an apple her ribs, and on her back a swallowtail butterfly.
She forgot how to part the gauntlet of ghost dogs gathered for malt liquor and drugs on the sidewalk of the bootleg bodega near her lover’s place, as they mutter baby and ooh, that ass.
She forgot—but she relearns, undulating through a world stripped of its film of virtue, a snake dipped in psychedelic juices, scales gleaming, leaving her husk of worn-out skin behind.
Foolish with afternoon sex—break-time
between last class and evening shifts—
I gaze with my boyfriend into a portrait
size mirror. Not glass but polished metal,
dim as a pool against dorm cinderblock.
Undressed, we admire our smooth selves,
his chest against my head, his arms
victorious on my golden apple breasts.
We are young and see that we are young,
gripped by rings of soft gilded light.
In that moment of slipping under,
we become dangerously beautiful.
Enchanted, soldered, I dive downward
for twenty years with reflection strapped
to my back. Better to plunge into
a depthless basin with no thought of love,
rising and parting. Better to shake off
slick droplets of infatuation, to know
any shining surface casts up as much as this.
Angele Ellis’s work has appeared on a theater marquee, after winning Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ G-20 Haiku Contest. She is author of Arab on Radar (Six Gallery), whose poems on family heritage earned a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; Spared (A Main Street Rag Editor’s Choice Chapbook), and Under the Kaufmann’s Clock (Six Gallery), a fiction/poetry tribute to her adopted city of Pittsburgh. Angele has been a regular reviewer for Cultural Daily, Vox Populi, Al Jadid, and Weave. She was a finalist in the 2021 Jack Grapes Poetry Contest for “Self-Portrait as Wine Glass.”