is her inability to get past the foyer. She lies
in wait until you open. When you do she

darts in and bares her teeth, flashes her lovely
thighs, knocks you to your tiled floor.

She does not let your head crack, cradles it in
white feathers that gleam and slake the light,

and admits that now that she is in she cannot
decide which way to break your heart: whether

to take you there, on the floor, kneeling, discomfited,
or lead you to your bed and lay you on the down.

Now that she is in you allow her to look at you: fully
undressed, dutifully quiet, trembling. She strokes

your shoulder, smoothes your hair, and you shiver,
close your eyes, relax into the fear, open them

only to your door ajar: a crushed trail through
the azaleas tells you she has left you again.



Illustration by Amy Payne.


CATI PORTER is the author of Seven Floors Up (Mayapple Press), the chapbooks small fruit songs (Pudding House) and (al)most delicious (dancing girl press), and the illustrated e-chapbook what Desire makes of us. An interview with Laura Madeline Wiseman about what Desire makes of us is forthcoming here. More of Cati’s recent poems can be found in wicked alice, Crab Creek Review, So to Speak: A Feminist Journal of Literature and Art, and forthcoming in the anthologies Women Write Resistance (Blue Light Press) and Fat Gold Watch (Fat Gold Watch Press). She lives in Riverside, California, with her husband and two young sons. You can find her on the web at www. catiporter.com.

5 responses to “The problem with Desire”

  1. “When you do she darts in and bares her teeth, flashes her lovely thighs, knocks you to your tiled floor.” Cati I loved your poem. Thanks.

  2. Cati Porter says:

    Thank you, Pete! Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Ellen Estilai says:


  4. Cati Porter says:

    Thank you, Ellen!

  5. archana says:

    Beautiful poem Cati!

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