Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sleeping with Thor

There might as well be a neon sign outside
that flashes “Vacancy,” for all the talk I get from you.
Your great blond hulk beside me, breathing,
that one arm holding me, tight as a battle trophy:
all fine and good. Dane, or Viking, or as you joked
when you dragged me back here, “The great God Thor
in exile from Asgard,” your open mouth is wordless,
as animal slumber, not quite a snore but a rumble
rolls over me. At the foot of the bed, your sandals,
somewhere safely off, that hammer named Mjolnir
that I think means more to you than boyfriends:
all fine. I should just relax and enjoy this, but for
the fact that you are sleeping with both eyes open
and I am staring into two tenantless holes where once
those commanding blue orbs had sundered my resistance.

Twice you have stirred, and wordless, twice
we have done everything you thought I wanted — god,
things I never even dreamt of! Even with all that armor on,
each touch was just at the cusp between joy and too much
to bear. If that was mead we drank, I’ll toast the maker,
but must I go eyeless too into some zombie slumber?

Are you in Asgard, where Odin even now scolds you
for your college-boy dalliance? Remember to tell him
I am a poet, and a fit companion and confidant!
Your strong hand will not release me; clad
in the tatters of what you tore from me, I must wait
for the next installment, or canto, or conquest.

Are you in and out of yourself as it conveniences?
Those blue eyes drilled me, as you enjoyed the spoils
of my all too easy surrender. But what I win
is this manikin semblance of a lover,
the fox’s calling card, a henhouse full of carnage
and a room chill-blasted with Arctic air.
(Good trick, since it is July outside.)

If you are phantom, a frosty incubus,
perhaps the rest of you will follow your errant eyes.
I will wake then, embracing a suit of armor,
a limp red cape and leggings.

I’ll look down empty corridors of clothes, find no one
either up your sleeves or down your trousers, the shape
of your strong legs only an imprint on the mattress.
If I reach in those vacant sockets, I’d feel my fingers touch.
I’d know the embrace that holds me was death’s rigor;
I’d feel for the cold hand inside the chain-mail glove:
try as I might for a pulse I'd find none. I’d dare
to place my lips to yours, expecting no respiration.

Dark raven wings flutter.
I think I hear a distant wind, a sigh between your ears
and mine. Perhaps it comes from Asgard, perhaps
you ride the Bifrost to return to me. Can I be bard
to your impossible beauty? Or when those eyes
assume their blueness, will the only words you mutter
be something about hockey practice, too much to drink,
and the need for a serious breakfast?

I expect nothing. I tell myself
I imagined most of this. But there,
the armored breastplate presses me still from behind,
and that arm refuses to release me,
and there, next to our hastily thrown off jackets,
reposes Mjolnir, the square-ended hammer of Thor.

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