Home > Poetry > The Last of the Ptolemies
profile/kate-lynn-schirmer.md
Published: Sun Jul 1 2007
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
The Last of the Ptolemies

I chose it for lechery:
that slink of grasping motion
across a marble floor,

almost boneless,
a line without sex.
Its eyes winked at my painted nails

rubbing across its head,
over oilcloth skin
dry as figs in the sun.

Such a smooth stalk
rising begs to be touched.
And its name, seductive

to tooth and tongue:
assssssssssssssssss
pah.

There was, of course, its silence.
I like its way with secrets,
that smile always lipped tight.

Slick obelisk, pursuing every thigh
exposed, ringing any downy arm,
committed to no one.

But most of all I chose it for its bite:
the tart sting quickly overtaken
by a coursing bliss

spreading through the scalp, the knees,
like an opiate.
Not a violent venom, no spasm–

a considerate juice
injected as you shiver
when it coils around your neck;

and then you succumb
to sleep, as though
waking to arousal.

Back to top