Week, with Desire (a modified sestina)


And please, let me forget the scattered light
against warm skin, blond threads burning
in mirror, windowpane and memory, reflected
endlessly, until my throat is dry, until I drown,
senseless, blue-swept and forgotten,
clinging to a spar of reason.


Shall I list each reason?
How his very name is sun, is light,
and mine is always forgotten;
how at his touch I am raw and burning,
and the imperfect, only, salve is to drown
in kisses? His eyes show only myself, reflected.


Believe me, I have considered, reflected
on this decision, employed a bitten lip and cold reason.
I could convince myself, could drown
in eager convictions. My fingers tremble to light
the bonfire, and set the witch to midnight burning.
Civilization is so easily forgotten.


Trust me — nothing he said has been forgotten,
not a gentle word — none directed, only reflected
onto me. So much worse that way, my face burning
and he claims innocence, ignorance or good reason
to justify his silences. So many nights of long moon’s light
while I listened obediently and tried not to drown…


The tide rises again, and we will, must drown
in this wildness, the rasping tears so quick forgotten,
heart-hurt lost to his touch, his battering light
and my poor self reflected —
a frail spar to cling to is reason
when thighs are taut and the flesh is burning,


aching, dying, thrusting and once again burning
endlessly, until all I’d ask is to simply drown
to sink down, down past the halls of reason
to the bones lost, the white chambers forgotten,
where far overhead is dimly reflected
the dying and bloody light.


That light. A sailor could certainly drown
silently, burning with desire, but not — not! — forgotten.
Even only reflected, light confounds cold, dark reason.



M.A. Mohanraj
August 16, 1998

A sestina is a tremendously complicated form to define, though not nearly
as hard to do as it sounds. There are many pages on sestina on the web —
I recommend this one for a clear guide to the structure.
They link to other sestina sites. This is my first; it dragged me
out of my bed to be written, the gods know why. There was something
oddly satisfying about writing it, though.

And for a completely different sestina, try this one by Andy