We meet—sometimes—between the dry hours,
Between clefts in the involuntary plan,
Refusing to think of rent or food—how
Civic the slick to satisfied from man.
And democratic. A Lucky Strike each, we
Sponge each other off, while what’s greyed
In and grey slinks ashamed down the drain.
No need to articulate great restraint,
No need to see each other’s mouth lip
The obvious. Giddy. Fingers garnished
With fumes of onions and garlic, I slip
Back into my shift, then watch her hands—wordless—
Excerpted from Voyage of the Sable Venus: And Other Poems, by Robin Coste Lewis. Copyright © 2017 by Robin Coste Lewis. Reprinted with permission of Knopf Publishing Group.