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The Heart That Lies Outside The Body

by Stephanie Lenox

2007, 27 pages


Winner of the 2007 Sapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition.


"Making Love to Leopard Man"

Though Iím not a needle, let me touch you.
Let me look into the pink secret of your ear.
Let me part, one by one, your reclusive, unmarked toes.

Trust me, you are not the first man Iíve known
who thought he was an animal, whoís sharpened
his claws without knowing what to do with them.

Like continents, your bruise-green spots drift apart.
Lying beside you, I watch the ink bleed slowly
into the tiny channels of skin, edges blurring

into your yellow sea. One-hundred-six islands
Iíve counted so far: that one looks like a storm cloud,
that one at your hip like the head of a woman.

Youíre not the only one who knows how to make
the body an elaborate disguise. How I wish
the children who torment you would throw stones

at the ugly hut of my life and scatter like birds
when I glare at them. I want to bathe my scars
in the isle's dirty river. I want fangs.

Let me show you how hermit crabs do it: tap
my borrowed shell until I uncurl like a raw finger,
exposing myself to salt. Out there, I could be eaten,

I could be carried by the current into the mouth
of prey. Hold me closer with your human claws.
For now, letís pretend we have nothing to hide.



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Audio Sample:

As read by the author Stephanie Lenox

 

About the Author:

Stephanie Lenox
Praise For The Heart That Lies Outside The Body


"Stephanie Lenox's The Heart That Lies Outside the Body mines the Guinness World Records to take metaphor to a sublime extreme. Her chapbook, peopled with its 'federation of freaks' is euphoric, generous, gracefully obsessive. There is intense personal depth in all of these poems, which are intimate, skillful, shimmering with complexity and awe."

     óDenise Duhamel

The Hudson Valley Writers' Center  |  300 Riverside Drive Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591  |  914.332.5953  |  www.writerscenter.org