Michele Battiste


Begin at hinge, not lipped. Lidded. Outer canthus.

Ascend to eyebrow. A gentle press. Dry.

Arc to lacrimal duct. Don't rush. Laproscopic
tongue, blindly.

The nostril curve. Don't linger.

Earlobe like an artichoke leaf. Savor.

The jawlined jugular. Fingertips can place
the pulse, the heat. Rest your lips. Regress.

Revive for clavicle. Slide

                                              to sternum. Trap
breath and wait for condensation.

Nipple can be tricked, cajoled. Take between
your lips and cast a mold, a certain fit,
a memory.

The inside of elbow to wrist.

Bite middle knuckles, suck each fingertip, exhale
across palm so breath skims over the edge like falls. Drag
lower lip like the forgotten barrel.

Change your angle. Shoulder blades and sharper tongue.
Exact perimeters.

A railway of vertebrae, the concave links. Ride syncopation,

Two shallow dimples at the small of back, the span
between—pastry. Give a little sugar, little glaze, a drizzle
down the side.

Waist requires geometry and focus. Estimate trajectory
of abdomen. Aim for navel. No puckering.

Pace the thigh but take no shortcuts to the ankle.

The calf is no Kansas highway. Horizon,
a field of sweet corn. Graze.

Skim the metatarsal fan like swallows on a wire.

Strand yourself at toes. Beached. Reach for the water
sweating rings on the nightstand.

Repeat it all, reversed.




Not that I'm one to give instructions in the art of love. Once I learned seven new kisses on a first date. The body's capacity for arousal equals its capacity for language—limitless. Read Cixous and Irigaray.