Theodore Roethke





The Sensualists

"There is no place to turn," she said,
     "You have me pinned so close;
My hair's all tangled on your head,
     My back is just one bruise;
I feel we're breathing with the dead;
     O angel, let me loose!"

And she was right, for there beside
     The gin and cigarettes
A woman stood, pure as a bride
     Affrighted from her wits
And breathing hard, as that man rode
     Between those lovely tits.

"My shoulder's bitten from your teeth;
     What's that peculiar smell?
No matter which one is beneath
     Each is an animal,"-
The ghostly figure sucked its breath,
     And shuddered toward the wall;
Wrapped in the tattered robe of death,
     It tiptoed down the hall.

"The bed itself begins to quake,
     I hate this sensual pen;
My neck, if not my heart, will break
     If we do this again,"-
Then each fell back, limp as a sack
     Into the world of men.