Devotional by Lesley Kimball


I love my love with an A, because he is Affectionate. I hate him because he is Awkward. He came from Amsterdam; lives on Apples. His name is Alexander, and I will give him an Agate…
--Children’s Word Game

Suddenly I realize/that if I stepped/out of my body/I would break/into blossom. --James Wright

I love my love with a J
jazz and jewelweed
a letter that can’t go straight.
I am always in a red dress
with white flowers.
I love my love under the trees,
on a blanket, leaves falling
on his bare back
my eyes dusty with daylight.
I love my love with a J

I love my love with a B
bones and burning leaves
a letter that bruises the lips to say.
I wear long sleeves,
high collars.
I love my love in chance bedrooms,
under fogged rear windows, picturing
treehouses, flying,
my eyes closed, closed.
I love my love with a B

I love my love with an O
openings and owls
a letter to curl up in.
Weekends, I put him on,
wear him out.
I love my love in a loft
floating at the ceiling, raised
by rough wooden posts
my eyes wide, crackling.
I love my love with an O

I love my love with a T
tents and time
a letter to keep dry under.
I am invisible under layers
of someone else’s clothes.
I love my love inside walls
he will paint red when I go,
as the maple scratches the roof,
my eyes, cloudless, darken.
I love my love with a T

I love my love with a Y
yieldings and yesses
a letter that puzzles.
I fascinate in diamond dress,
skin gilded by his attention.
I love my love in his boundless bed,
lingering every morning, memorizing
the windowed tree
my eyes turn always to him
I love my love with a Y.

I love my love with an A
alchemy and ardor
a letter to set up house in.
I keep warm in words, wear
whatever I damn well please.
I love my love inside kisses,
lightning dark, trees filled with crows
my trees, our tangled breath
my eyes, open, light to his dark.
I love my love with an A.

I love my love with an L.
too little? too late?
I have worn it hidden, scarlet.
I love myself in chameleon leaves,
scratching dream-poems on birch bark,
my eyes scrambling up branches to the sky.
There, I find my full name,
spelled out in cones and pollen.
Let me step into it,
stars at my fingertips, roots from my feet.

Lesley Kimball is the recipient of an award for the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program “Voice and Vision” public art project. “Borderlands,” her collaborative, interactive poetry sculpture, is permanently installed at the Portsmouth Public Library. She has had poems appear in The Café Review, the anthologies The Other Side of Sorrow and The Longest Day, and in Spotlight Magazine. Lesley lives & writes in Portsmouth and is the Director of the Wiggin Memorial Library in Stratham, where “free poems” are handed out to the public every day.

Poem is © 2006 Lesley Kimball and was originally published in The Café Review (Winter 2008). It, and the photo are used here with the permission of the poet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a delightful poem--magical. Thank you for brightening my day.