It being December I stopped by
Stella’s to bring her
An amaryllis,
One dozen free-range chicken eggs
And a jar of my raspberry jam.
She had just lit up.
“I’m so dizzy today.”
I breathed in that grassy air
And we became cozy
Together in her bedroom; she
Nestled like Marilyn Monroe
In her cashmere turtleneck
Under the sheets. I
Sat next to her, my palm
Resting on the lump of covers
Draped over her hip. I patted
Her once or twice.
She’s my odalisque,
Her pupils dilating against
The burnt orange bedroom wall,
The sweet scent of the white flower
Sealing us in
In that complicit winter heat.

Sally Van Doren has poems published recently in American Letters and Commentary, Ellipsis, Lumina, Margie, Roger, and 2River. Her collection, Sex at Noon Taxes, won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. She curates the Sunday Workshop Series for the St. Louis Poetry Center and has taught in St. Louis public schools and at Washington University.