Tim Seibles

Natasha in a Mellow Mood

(apologies to Bullwinkle and Rocky)
Boris, Dahlink, look
at my legs, long
as a lonely evening in Leningrad,
how they open the air
when I walk, the way moonlight
opens the dark. Boris, my hair
is so black with espionage,
so cool and quiet with all those secrets
so well kept—those secret plans
you’ve nearly kissed
into my ears. Who gives a proletarian
damn about Bullwinkle and that
flying squirrel and that idiot
who draws us? America
is a virgin, the cartoonist who leaves me
less than a Barbie doll under
this dress, who draws me
with no smell—he is a virgin.
the children who watch us
every Saturday mornink
are virgins. Boris, my sweet waterbug, I
don’t want to be a virgin anymore.
Look into my eyes, heavy
with the absence of laughter
and the presence of vodka. Listen
to my Russian lips muss up
these blonde syllables of English:
Iwantchu. Last night
I dreamed you spelled your
code name on my shoulder
with the waxed sprigs of your
moustache. I had just come
out of the bath. My skin was still
damp, my hair poured like ink
as I pulled the comb through it. Then
I heard you whisper, felt you take
my hand—Oh, Boris, Boris
Badenov, I want your mischief-
riddled eyes to invent
my whole body, all the silken
slopes of flesh forgotten
by the blind cartoonist. I want
to be scribbled all over you
in shapes no pencil would dare. Dahlink,
why don’t we take off
that funny little hat? Though
you are hardly tall
as my thighs, I want your pointy
shoes beside my bed, your
coat flung and fallen
like a double-agent
on my floor.

Tim Seibles
“Natasha in a Mellow Mood” is from Hurdy-Gurdy (Cleveland State University, 2004).