Emily Dickinson Takes Off My Clothes

Meg Yardley

in response to Billy Collins

My heart knocks at the heft
of her immense quiet. Her knuckles
brush my ribs as she tugs the soft
blue sweater over my head
from behind. I brush back my mussed up hair,
but she’s not laughing. She’s been texting me

all week, terse phrases punctuated
by lapses and stutters, then all at once a torrent
of words, cataract of lust, pouring through
our remove from each other.
Without a distance to bridge,
what would words be for?

Outside, the twilight sky glows robin’s egg
blue, the color of possibly.
The fine hairs on my neck shiver. I know
Emily’s charcoal eyes see everything –
the naked hooks of my earrings dangling.

Her hand hurries over my hip (a curve
praised by other lovers), her fingers
clumsy now on the button
and zipper. She’s always opening up
spaces in me. Her mouth moves too fast
on my neck; as I grope for the words

to slow her, the known folds into
the unknown. She sweeps me back against
her corset, against those uncompromising bones.