The Ace of Cups (or: An Unwanted Pentecost)

Maybe you thought your cup

was empty when the love came

spilling out—

your chapped lips

pressed against the rim

to wash away the taste of doubt

maybe you thought its contents toxic,

a complex bacterial court—

but from that stagnant cup

you drank a thick, sweet summer port

I know how dear the taste would be

from the cup that we now share.

I know it when our fingers brush,

when I smell your coconut-washed hair,

when I hear your muted laughter

& you catch me in a stare.

Loneliness dulls the senses

to hide from yearning’s phantom touch,

and yet, sweetheart, your defenses

can’t do much to stop the flood

You say you have a pigeon heart,

that you’re scavenging romance,

a feral thing, a pest at best,

not worth a second glance.

But darling, you’re a shining dove,

in green and grey or white,

a feathered sign sent from above,

crowned in a holy light.

We can close our eyes against it

but the light will still bleed through

in pinks & reds and flush away

the gloom inside of you.

Your palm provides the home

that my hand struggled to find,

your mouth provides the words

that scrub the worries from my mind—

to this deluge, I think, my darling,

we must now resign,

skin sticky with the wine we spilt,

tongue touching the divine,

our bodies not quite temples, no,

but I’ll make yours a shrine.

in our lazy whitsun worship

you wonder what my cup might bring,

& we wander endlessly around

ponds flustered by the spring—

the love that you & I could share

would make the ground so lush & green,

and if we use this love with care,

not flood the streets while unaware,

we could grow ourselves a garden

unlike any one you’ve seen.

perhaps one day we’ll find

that we have nothing left to drink

& leave this cup, then empty,

in an overflowing sink.

But in this moment, darling,

my heart’s a brand new waterfall,

& I can’t contain it, dear.

You head my earnest call,

hold out the cup you thought long-dry

& catch me when I fall.

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