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ROMANTIC/Mflrgo Tamez A bull snake's six-foot coil muscles the soU in curls and messes. His tail is narrow, pointed and taut. Tm retieved he's not a rattler. I stand still over him, okay, no problem, you be here, I'll move down the path, his length woven around limbs of September's last Roprecos, the remaining tomatoes dark, moist, cool, near the earth where a sweet scent implies everything is rotting: romantic. The phosphorescent trunks swelling like throats that spew green beads of nightshade dew. The lizard, beneath the vitex's blooms of violet skirts, has a throat in between birth and contraction. Swirling like scrotum, stirring S's, the arched waves above and below rippled flesh. The lizard's hazel eyes are horizontal slants like a secret in my head, the lizard I see in my husband's face. Is this the last monsoon or is this autumn? I don't know when a season, a moment, a breath is anything different than what it is. Change is just change. The Missouri Review · 171 VALENTINE'S DAY/Margo Tamez Here, the dark sky and the city between us. A few classes of English will hold us over again. You on the farm every day. The cries of our babies behind your head. You recite the Ust, make sure I get it over their cranky voices. Your calmness a rope I wiU hold through aU the errands— heater pump for the truck, frozen juice, diaper pins, Darjeeting. Until I am in the dark of our bed, your thighs folding mine under warm blankets, your nose finding its place in the crease behind my ear; MUpa nuzzling for the nipple, tiny fingers on her free hand strum the lobe of skin over my ribs. Again the memory that you brought chties for me to preserve. A coffee can in your rough hands, you brought your body. In no good condition, made me feel that I should learn to be useful. You came afflicted, a thrashed old suit. I gave you the key to the front door, not saying anything. I handed you other entries, ones without keys, fists of flowers. You breathe, dive, open everything in me, push to the surface, go in again. DaUy the wounds are closing. Smooth, pink blossoms. You find the parts, fix yourself, the feared dream. 172 · The Missouri Review I see how you put things together. Compare. Say nothing. Begin the quiet. It is new. I am new at this attempt at grace. Margo Tamez The Missouri Review · 173 THE SOUND OF DOVES/Margo Tamez I felt your body approach and pause between the door and the hallway. I am in the bath, the length of my body folded to fit and parts of me submerged. I watch a delicate form, thin layers of bubbles attach themselves to the fine hairs of my body. My hand glides in an arc, a deep fine furrow around my stomach, a tree of veins. I see as if outside the body. Beneath frayed cuticles, unshaven legs, this crescent mound. The tiny streams breaking, layering. Skin tike rough terrain and water not enough to cover all the stretches from pregnancy and births. You ask me to show myself. Layered folds of skin from the births of our chUdren, this scar above my brow that points to the sky, fine hairs from the navel forming a passage to dark magentas in the center of my womb. I hear doves through the crumbling ceiling flutter their wings like sprays of water. I hear their muffled cries in my shivering body letting forth like an uncertain chorus. I listen to your breath moving over my skin like tiny wings. 174 · The Missouri Review ON THE WING/Margo Tamez The blue martins snatch damselflies and stinkbugs as they drift an evening thermal. The largest of swallows, their size is all in the tail. Tm hanging laundry in autumn, late in the day, the stiff shadows of clothespins, their oblique angle to earth, and their large v-forms oddly like martins dipping and braiding for food. With the blue martins' return, I surrender all my fear to a past I...


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