Making Love After Illness, After Argument

Fabric Art by Kate Dean
Fabric Art by Kate Dean

Barbara Benoit


My body could not form a flower

in this old bed.  Electric blanket buzzes

the body like a grave

left out in winter.


Was it 33 radiation treatments

burning orange do-not-cross lines?

Ashes smolder to dust,

dust sifts through breast

to spleen to bony heart.


Were we two intimate strangers

in the kitchen of the same grey hug?

The spider in the bathroom

of happy years?


Clitoris stood outside in the rain,

didn’t want to sit and talk,

didn’t want to take off her coat

and laugh into his urgent eyes.


My body could not form a flower.

My fingers stumbled to pick violets in a snowy field.

My body up on stilts trying to push through hard winter earth,

this body, it could not flower.


This poem previously appeared in Naugatuck River Review.


Barbara Benoit’s work has been published in Cimarron Review, 5 AM, Shenandoah online, Babel Fruit International Journal, Slipstream, Tygerburning Literary Journal, Blueline, Naugatuck River Review, and the anthology, Knocking At The Door. Her chapbook, Waiting for the Thoroughness of Winter, is forthcoming from Pudding House Press. She holds an MFA in poetry from New England College in New Hampshire.

Kate Dean is working on an MFA in Studio Art and fixing up an old house. She is the Executive Director of Arts Alive!, based in Keene, New Hampshire. When she has a minute, she writes poetry and sings close-harmony acappella with a small ensemble.