Tim Seibles

First Kiss

for Lips
Her mouth
fell into my mouth
like a summer snow, like a
5th season, like a fresh Eden,
like Eden when Eve made God
whimper with the liquid
tilt of her hips—
her kiss hurt like that—
I mean, it was as if she’d mixed
the sweat of an angel
with the taste of a tangerine,
I swear. My mouth
had been a helmet forever
greased with secrets, my mouth
a dead-end street a little bit
lit by teeth—my heart, a clam
slammed shut at the bottom of a dark,
but her mouth pulled up
like a baby-blue Cadillac
packed with canaries driven
by a toucan—I swear
those lips said bright
wings when we kissed, wild
and precise—as if she were
teaching a seahorse to speak—
her mouth so careful, chumming
the first vowel from my throat
until my brain was a piano
banged loud, hammered like that—
it was like, I swear her tongue
was Saturn’s 7th moon—
hot like that, hot
and cold and circling,
circling, turning me
into a glad planet—
sun on one side, night pouring
her slow hand over the other: one fire
flying the kite of another.
Her kiss, I swear—if the Great
Mother rushed open the moon
like a gift and you were there
to feel your shadow finally
unhooked from your wrist.
That’d be it, but even sweeter—
like a riot of peg-legged priests
on pogo-sticks, up and up,
this way and this, not
falling but on and on
like that, badly behaved
but holy—I swear! That
kiss: both lips utterly committed
to the world like a Peace Corps,
like a free store, forever and always
a new city—no locks, no walls, just
doors—like that, I swear,
like that.

Tim Seibles
“First Kiss” is from Buffalo Head Solos (Cleveland State University, 2004).