The holiday season is in full swing, the roads are crowded with cars, and the parking lots are overflowing with shoppers frantically searching for that right gift for someone special. We’ve solved the dilemma a number of years ago by deciding to tell all our friends and relations that the only thing we desired from them was the pleasure of their company throughout the year. For those who felt compelled to give a gift, we gave them the names of our favorite charities, and they can make a contribution in our name. For the most part, the folks we know have responded in kind, making Christmas a whole lot less stressful for all of us. Still, there are occasions when we feel we would like to offer some special acknowledgement to one who’s close to us. Perhaps understanding is the gift in the basket of our poet today.
Once it was every twenty-eight days or so,
the monthly cycles,
returning to bloat you like a full moon.
Now it’s always twenty-eight minutes to go
(trading curse for curse)
before the first
radiant warmth overcompensates too soon
along transcendent menopausal skirt,
where sudden sweats unleash
subtle acts of striptease:
kicking off covers, unbuttoning your shirt–
but only for the murder of some minutes,
till you’re aware
that just as quickly as you were in it,
you’re back out again, reaching
for your cover
or your lover’s
arm, placing it across you like a wing,
protective, warm, until the next thermal turn
has you flushing,
to your face in a blush of slowest burn.