from “July”, by Kazim Ali

Then the gray-green sky came down in breaths to my lips and sipped me.

I love the suggestiveness of this five-line poem by Kazim Ali, and especially the balance between what’s said, and what’s unsaid. I’m drawn to the delicate way he describes contact with the sky, which is also a way of talking about his connection with the other person in the poem, who is possibly a lover. This is an incredibly sexy poem whose power rests in its restraint. As Roland Barthes writes in The Pleasure of the Text, “Is not the most erotic portion of the body where the garment gapes?”. In my own poems, I’m often working with that space of gaping, as opposed to the full reveal. Elision. Essences. Silences. The desire to communicate a lot in as little space as possible.

Link to the complete poem:

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