Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Lips Never Kissed

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd throw out a poem of love, a poem of lust. I wrote this May 12, 1998, and came across it while looking for a poem suitable for the day. Something's telling me now is the time to share it. So here it is.


I opened my eyes

and watched the stars

fading from the sky.

Birds sang quietly

and someone snored nearby.

I didn’t move

but I could see all around me,

the teenage bodies

resting in the grass.

No one wanted to sleep in the cabins

on such a beautiful night

and from where we were,

we could hear the waves

gently rushing up the beach.

It was Mindy’s idea,

and she was so popular,

had she suggested we sleep in the trees,

we would have started climbing

before she even finished speaking.

Somehow, by chance,

I was beside her, in the grass.

She was on her back,

one tanned arm thrown behind her

as she inhaled slow, even, whispers of air.

Her lips were slightly apart, and

even in the early morning light,

I could see the glow

from her teeth, hidden like pearls

in an oyster’s smile.

The dark curls from her hair

fell around her, giving the

impression that she had rested

her head in a luxurious nest

of soft seaweed.

Her lashes fluttered, the soft lids

covering her honeyed amber eyes.

I was a spy. I stared for five

full minutes before I moved closer,

holding my breath. Closer, and a dog

barked in the distance, someone nearby stirred.

I wanted so much to kiss her,

our lips were so close, I could feel

her breath, like warm tears on my cheek.

But I stopped.

I was too afraid. Mindy was

two years older and I was still so insecure.

I moved back and discovered the body

next to her watching me. His eyes

regarded me, unblinking. We stared

at each other and I could read his thoughts,

You poor, little fool, you’ll never

have that a chance again.

And he was right.

As if on cue, Mindy stirred

and yawned, showing me

a thick, voluptuous tongue,

and then she stretched

with a look of such pleasure,

I could only imagine

it was the expression

of a woman making love.

When her eyes discovered me,

in a gravely voice, still weighted

with sleep, she mumbled, “Good morning.”

Of course, I agreed,

but the spell had been broken:

the sun rose and the bodies moved

and everything returned to normal speed.

Life vibrated and zipped onward

and I have no doubt

that the memory of me

in Mindy’s mind

is filed away under


Whereas her hair and her eyes,

that one tanned arm and her lips,

those lips never kissed,

still appear before me

when I think of chances not taken

or opportunities missed

or even, if I am awake,

and I see the dark sky turn gray

with the promises of dawn.

©2007 William Dickenson Cohen

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