To Starkville, With Love

—after Richard Hugo

I write, here, about devouring love like a giant,
tipping my head back and dropping it in
feet-first. There’s a sweat to it that’s new,
out here. What I mean is this place
is easy, is high like the mountains
and cold like them.
Or else what I mean
is this place fucks you sweaty,
that it’s dark and it’s busy, that it shoots
your ears with neon, that I feel like
I’m hopping motels even though I’m not.
We could go and tip gin back
except you drink whiskey, that’s right.
Maybe what I mean
is I miss you, that I’d buy your drinks,
no problem, that I’d humor Gus and Boudreaux
though you know I don’t like cats.
What I mean, yes, is I feel low and sinuous,
not so much sleaze as mountain cat:
my shoulders coiled and lovely,
the spring in my thighs something deadly.
I could rip someone’s throat with my teeth
and no one would find me.
Sometimes at night I hear sirens,
and sometimes the stars are brighter
than they were in Mississippi.
The air in Reno is white, you know how it is.
Love, we can be anything out here.
Robbers or socialites. Ladies
or invisible. I’m missing something, missing you,
and that’s the point. My letters send parts
of me back, little by little. Here, take some.