A Poem on Poison Ivy

I found this in my search and thought I would share:

Poison Ivy

by Sibelan Forrester

1. The First Time

Who says wrists and ankles aren’t still eroticized?
They’re the first parts you can get to, the parts
most at risk even if you dress in all the clothes
you can think of, long sleeves, socks and shoes,
gardening gloves — hey, I’m not a specialist.

Hauling on the big vines, using your weight
to master them, of course when they snap
you tumble into the little beginning sprouts
that you don’t recognize. The next day,
or in three the first touches will appear
like slender irritated necklaces, puss
pearls on a fraying red thread.

Proving who is the true god of the garden.

    2. The Second Time

Poison ivy is like sexual obsession,
it pulls all my body’s attention
to those blistering organs of delight.
My body says, touch me there, touch
my ankle. Rub a little. Ooooooooh.

Three minutes later it’s calling again
with every seductive swish of my skirt,
begging any passing hands, especially my own.

3. The Fall

I was being so good, not scratching
the fulminating bubbles, in spite
of all the temptation: I was doing
what the doctor said, until
I went downstairs to put on the laundry
and stood for five minutes, head down,
in front of the dryer, scratching every bit
of available skin from the knees down
to the cold cement ground.

Weak woman,
leaky vessel!
Now I am seeping,
I must wear the red Letter.

4. So I Am Changed

Now that I am an initiate
I see it everywhere, the glossy
triangular eyes of its young
leer at me from every garden
and roadside in recognition.

All these years I didn’t know
what might be out there to get me,
but now wherever I walk I keep
an eye out for that glossy leaf
and tendril, lurking at the edge
of the lawn, the soft touch
and proof of my angry imperfection.

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