Lychee Martinis – Gabrielle Langley (Editors’ Choice)

The cold, pale curves of the fruit…
the sharp bite of alcohol…
the click and polish
of steel and glass…
There is a distant Argentine waltz…
or perhaps a tango…
It is all very civilized.

I am only a guest here
but last night
I walked through these rooms
smooth and undressed
like an animal moving
through its native habitat.

Deer-like
I pranced on small bare feet
over these same marble floors.
There is no real difference
between these rooms and the woods outside.
I know every water source,
can find my own sips of water.
It is not like now, where I wait,
politely,
to be served.

Here at this civilized
gathering
of fully clothed strangers,
They are all sipping cocktails
while I pretend, for your sake,
for the sake of proper appearances,
that I, too, am tame,
that I would never dream
of walking naked through these rooms.

Here, we are pretending
that our feral contact was a dream,
that the sounds of our whispers
are only memory,
that our bodies were never joined
inside the shelter of these rooms.
We are pretending
that these walls did not hear
the sounds of mating in the night.

I sit here with you now, fully clothed,
stoic, with this icy cocktail,
making small talk.
See through the windows;
this house is still circled with cedars and pines.
The trees stand up straight against the night sky,
and in the yard, wild animals
still seek with instinct,
finding their way in the dark.

GabrielleLangleyGabrielle Langley was featured in the Huffington Post as one of Houston’s important emerging poets. A recipient of the Vivian Nellis Memorial Award for Creative Writing, an ARTlines national poetry finalist and a jury selected poet for Houston Poetry Fest, her work has appeared in many literary journals. Ms. Langley is an editor for Red Sky, a poetry anthology addressing violence against women scheduled for release in 2016. She holds undergraduate and masters degrees and works as a mental health professional. She writes poetry and dances Argentine tango.