Ross Gay

Unclean. Make me.

And if a woman has an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days.
And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days.
Leviticus, Chapter 15
When the body blooms, you must
put your face to it. Lay tongue
to the lathe, the blessed
lather. Song like marble spun
into silk. The human
loom. The thread limning your lips. Breathe
there. Fill your lungs
with birth’s florid shadow. This is the common dream of the living
and dead: not only to meet
the maker, but to taste its sweet. Even God
should know this.

Ross Gay
Unclean. Make me. is forthcoming in the 10th Year Cave Canem Anthology, due in spring 2006 (University of Michigan Press).
Poem, copyright © 2005 by Ross Gay
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse