you are a brush of calligraphy
sweeping designs across my belly
ink splattering circles and symbols
like a string of black lipped oyster pearls
strewn between my thighs

don’t lie

you never wanted to lick the stone
where I ground up green dye mixed with water-
where I grew up fluent in the flutter of crows
and ink splotches splattered like sullied rosewater
on silk skin spelling out rows of provocations

while you masturbated to Madame Butterfly
crying out at the moment Butterfly stabbed herself
as the music soared and the scarlet obi unfurled
into a whirl of red ink

you are a brush of calligraphy
dipping into my dreams when the flame is hushed
spreading white onto my flushed cheeks
turning me into a masked geisha
listening to a Puccini aria while confessing
your love for another

I carefully twist my hair into a chignon
paint on rosebud lips with a red stick and crystallized sugar
then smile just wide enough to reveal my blackened teeth


Loretta Oleck is a poet with work published in Feminist Studies, The Missing Slate, Mas Tequila, WordRiot, Obsidian, High Coupe, Black Lawrence Press, Right Hand Pointing, Commonline Journal, Cultural Weekly, The Westchester Review, Poetica Literary Magazine, The Mom Egg, and numerous others. Her poetry chapbook, “Persephone Dreaming of Cherries,” was published by Hurricane Press, and her work was selected to be included in “The Best of 2013”anthology by Storm Cycle. Her poetry was performed and filmed as part of the Public Poetry Series by Fjords Review. She has performed my work in New York including the Paramount Theater and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. She holds a Masters degree in creative writing from New York University.