On Stage
Suzanne Ondrus

We are a black body with
white arms and legs.
And together we are actors.

My thighs are swan wings cradling you.
You are molasses covering my torso.

Even alone with you, in the most private room,
I see them in the mirror,
spectators staring at my hands
clenching your dark shoulders.
I feel their shudders
as my hands cup your buttocks.
I can hear them whispering:
Itís just jungle fever.
While I rub the back of your head,
they grimace, draw back, and tell me
to feel its nap. Next, their faces
come around our bed, pushing
against the mosquito netting,
examining your flesh against mine.
Itís thick.
I close my eyes, nestle my nose
into your neck,
and take your rubber scent
deep into my lungs.
This smell is comfort.
I touch your chest
and feel the need to rub
to the muscle, to the bone,
but they press against the netting,
and I canít send them from the room.
Then your chin starts to move in an arc
from my nose to my forehead.
And I want to see this.
Your mouth opens,
your eyes close and press tight,
and then your cry comes.
I smile and kiss your cheek,
pressing deep into your high
cheekbone, finding my skull.

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