Alice O. Howell          






Doubt is her dragging anchor


as she crosses and recrosses


a celestial equator


          dividing at the gut


          in her, the saint, the slut



as she and all her kin


were taught and so wont


          they wanted and were taut



                    but the sun has other plans



                    having tasted a solstice of morals


                    and detected a taint


                    over the wheelstone


          he spins and sobs


          over her heels


                    stabbing into her dark complaint



the slut counts


in beads of sweat and purity


          so many has she ringed


in jasper rose and flesh, in part and hole


her band and bond


          hot kisses hooped by an interior moon


          and runged on the committed probe


in feathered trembling on his festive rod



the saint kisses with reasons


is thus disqualified


          and sags down her meridians


          of pulsing cold


          to be consumed


by taxes, winter, and a righteous god



the slut, the slot, open and shot


          kisses for pleasures


          nests and sweet nectarines


                    to be subsumed


she smiles like a holy leopard


knowing he has never been circled by such sinuous spring


by constant slivered silvers and inconstant gold


          been this confused


          old before young


          forgiven while hung






Cybele sings in braids of blooded rhythms


of divided incandescent tides


          mourns in cold bread


                    always in that silence following


          a trap sprung.