Sharon Coleman

a panther

Year of the Horse

a panther

a panther who eats in a restaurant
oh to be swiped by her paw
whose claws never show
a padded, velvet push!
to feel her hot breath on my neck
i turn the other cheek.

Year of the Horse

Your hip, a heavy-bodied arch in moonlight,
my arms pass over, press to this bare chest.
I slide over the curve, eyes round, ears alert.

By noon our hands thicken working wild
soil into our dusk of a chosen domesticity—
your hip, a heavy-bodied arch in moonlight,

By dawn our throats thirst for tea steaming
from mint leaves that escape blackberry roots.
I slide from your curve, eyes round, ears alert.

Now far from fields veined in clay and human ash,
we leave a thought in each shoot we plant—
your hip, a heavy-bodied arch in daylight,

An army manual warns that for every ten percent
of a people killed, seventy years of grief.  I slide
over our curve of time, eyes round, ears alert.

This year we plant raspberries, and wonder
what it could mean to predate the wheel.
Your hip, an unharnessed arch in moonlight,
I slide over your curve, eyes round, ears alert.

Sharon Coleman’s poetry has appeared in Caesura, Criminal Class Review, The Walrus, Syllogism, Berkeley Poetry Review, Ghost Town/Pacific Review, North Coast Literary Review, Folio, and elsewhere.  She’s a contributing editor at Poetry Flash where her reviews and essays appear regularly. She teaches poetry writing and composition at Berkeley City College and French at the Art Institute of California in San Francisco.

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