KISS IN RITTENHOUSE SQUARE
I see him as an easily startled sparrow
and tell him so the second time we meet.
buddy holly glasses, blond crew cut, he plays piano
at a show tune palace late at night, and he
can’t always sleep. his heartbreak he keeps
tuned to minor chords, and yes, his catalog
of torch songs is well-worn, like a poetry
volume someone gave me at fifteen. does it need
to be said I’ve come to town on business?—
that I’m scratching his deaf dog behind the ear
while he pours us drinks in the kitchen,
that he removes his glasses, that I see his skin almost
translucent in the little blue glow through
a half-shaded window.
that this window is in his bedroom. that at 7 AM
I call a cab and catch my flight.
I leave a note that ends I promise you.
does it matter why there are no phone
calls? what disaster wrecks his dress rehearsal
of “send in the clowns”? how it takes three
summers before I find him again
in philadelphia? we close down a martini
bar where they play moody
indie pop. we walk a block, streets shiny,
white with rain, lined with ivy-curtained houses,
a narrow space, hollow and black,
that holds only us and the smell of wet brick.
I wonder if he’s kept my note.
I start to say, I want— when he surrenders,
body limp, he falls, and with
bliss and impatience, lips intent and perfectly
curled to mine, seems to say he’s craved
my tongue, my breath, the end of this long wait,
to kiss me this way, a moment he already chose
as closing scene—skittish, intelligent bird.
his warm neck I let go. he hails a taxi,
slides mutely in, and leaves me at the edge of empty paths
of cobblestone that web across his city.
THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT AN AFFAIR
white cat asleep in a lap of tight pants. in heat,
musk irresistible to males. our bodies know
many ways to lie on a couch. our lips know
many ways to couch a lie. the lover like
a priest, shaded by teakwood, mahogany, lace,
hunches in the dark booth of a confessional.
my teenage self with his pillow rubbed hard
between his legs. a soprano traces a crescendo.
she sings a diamond, sings its flaws. a flawed
diamond lodged in her throat. pearls on velvet
mounted for display as pink as a tongue
or a thumb. his guitar rests like a hand on his hip.
the clock hands make us sense that we are chained.
they also create rhythm. beneath piano
intro, bow and string make innuendo.
violas propose. a cello shrieks refusal.
violin vibrates seduction, whispers dirty
words, spreads its cheeks and thrusts. he dances on thin wire
like flame on the tip of a candle. he dances
faster, pleads for more. insists on finishing first,
piano right behind. applause. applause. applause.
he’s then wiped clean with a rag. a man bites a snake
on the back of its hood. he’s handsome as
a vampire. the wounded snake bites back. who survives?
ANTHONY DIPIETRO is a gay Rhode Island native who worked for 12 years in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Journal, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Notre Dame Review, The Southampton Review, The Seventh Wave, and others. He has been a finalist with Coal Hill Review, Naugatuck River Review, and The Tishman Review. His website is AnthonyWriter.com.