Thursday, 15 December 2022



by Stellasue Lee

When flirting, look directly into the eyes of the man
as if needing to tell him something.
Turn the palm of your left hand out
curling the fingers slightly.

Stand stillas if lost for the moment.
When accepting a drink from your hostess,
take a sip and imagine him unbuttoning
the 14 buttons at the back of your dress,

how his forefinger and thumb work,
each disengagement granting permission.
Feel the warmth from his breath in your hair.
Pause. Understand the space you occupy,

the timber of wood,
the tempered glass.
When he speaks, listen.
Touch his sleeve and concentrate

on the craggy lines that form
around his mouththe feathered wings
sweeping up from his eyes.
If he touches you,

arch your back slightly,
then bend one knee.
Your hips will sway.
Lift your left arm

and touch the back of your curled fingers
to your cheek.
Bring that arm to rest against your breast
applying pressure. Be willing.

When dancing, be fluid in his arms,
dreamy, like floating,
the music hushed like sea water in your ears.
When it ends
do not step away too quickly.
Stay another moment
as if you are recording
the first grain of sand

on the first beach.
Tremble without his heat.
Don’t speak,
but promise him everything

with your eyes.
When he takes your hand
follow him into midnight.

with your head full of swarming gnats
and your senseless curled fingers
crazy from want;
take what you need.

Do it.

* * * * *

Stellasue Lee was a founding editor of RATTLE, a poetry journal, and is now editor Emerita. Two of her books have been entrants for the Pulitzer Prize, Firecracker Red, and Crossing the Double Yellow Line. Her latest publication is New & Selected Poems, Queen of Jacks, available on Amazon or her website: Dr. Lee was winner of the grand prize of Poetry To Aide Humanity in 2013 by Al Falah in Malaysia. She now teaches privately. Dr. Lee received her Ph.D. from Honolulu University. She was born in the year of the dragon.

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