Stone Flight

I climb up the seventy stone
steps, seven flights to the summit
where you crouch, half-hidden
by a curve of rain gutter, your face
only peeking out through ivy
and the prospective students look up
at the tour guide’s prompting —
“One of our finest specimens!”
— if only he knew. The wind against
your face has smoothed and polished,
planed the edges, and you might
look quite kindly, from far below.
I know better. Your back is harsh,
your folded wings, sharp-edged.
Talons curve from hands and feet,
and the sheer muscled power of you
leaves me short of breath. It is not
just the seven flights. My face is
flushed, my breath is hot against
your back, my hands trace the
ripples of stone. Only the top of
your head is sun-warmed; the rest
is cold as graves, as ocean, as night.
The sun is setting. The students
have gone back to the dorms, the
professors walk away, still talking.
They don’t look up. They never
look up. If they did, might some
geologist, philosopher, medievalist
notice? Unlikely. That smooth face
gives away nothing. Even when I slip
around to your front, leaning back
in the rain gutter, lifting up my skirt,
up from my ankles to my calves to
knees to thighs to hips to waist,
sliding forward and down so that the cold
hidden stone slowly, roughly
makes its way to warmth, scratching
me a little. I do not care. I wrap
my arms around your waist, I press
my cheek against your broad cold
chest, I wrap my legs around your
crouching thighs, I pull myself up
and down, as the sun sets, as the last
light slips below the horizon; I slide up
and down, stone thick and rigid inside me,
until finally stone shivers, I fall,
we fly.



M.A. Mohanraj
August 1, 2000