Alice B. Toklas Speaks
Like a tapestry, our love—we kept threading our waythrough while from your lips
came a room of women singing.My darling, my sweet handsomewoman, you ate words like meat.
Fingers: firm reeds, coral broach:a lizard's eye, you dwarfed me like a tree.Hunting for sound, words hopped
like toads from you. Gertrude, I wantedto watch you wash your dressand to be your dress, too.
Reborn in the drip of a pen,I was born and thenI was not born again but born
through you. Coddlingmy brow, we did not fallinto love, we collided with it.
Aging, your hands felt like clamsagainst my face when by Marchthe Seine stiffened to a spine. Always [End Page 99]
laughing, the sky broke down and wept,it was so happy. Today the sun rosesour kitchen, our stairs, our parlor. Lately
the dogs out walking seem to be walkingonly themselves. Our room dulls yellowas into and from the paintings you kept
we slipped. They were like wells,we thought. Wells for us to drinkand keep drinking from. You said
you would live inside my words,would climb into my head, wrenchmy mouth open and dive into it. Now
below my feet you grumble.Below me you swell. In Parisyou tried to fever me into
your rainbow. It was those yearsin Paris, in 27 Rue de Fleurs,I toured your vinegar mouth. [End Page 100]
Theodora Ziolkowski's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Gargoyle, Caesura, and Concert at Chopin's House, the latter an anthology of Polish-American writers.