Erika Kulnys CD Release

Sonnets for Cari

1
The tomatoes burst in one night—the face
of winter. The stove’s red coils heat up
soundlessly. My guitar’s locked in its case.
I want to write a sonnet for you, to cup
my blood in verse. But how can I adore
you, uncore you when we are cut
off? Our mother lover child cords
severed, unplugged—strewn on the floor.
We break down on the phone, the internet. I want you
to come back to Ohio, to come un-rut
my love, my cunt. In a bathroom in a bar, I’ll do
all the things I promised: make you quiver from your gut,
not forgetting, but forgiving; not holding
back, my winter heart unfolding.

2
Don’t forget our camping trip in Canso:
eyes stunned by the rising moon and sunset,
and kissing in the ditch, we couldn’t get
up—too much to say to let each other go.
Marry me, I said, and you said Yes. Don’t forget
that. Don’t forget the tent at night, drenched hands
holding each other; the make-shift band
of owls and beer cans, the grasshopper’s reprise; the wet
towels, wet with rain and with our love. We played
like lions while trees shook outside. Don’t
forget the morning sausages and old men singing Stan; don’t
forget how, whiskey-breathed, I sang to you, love: Maid
on the Shore: “Nothing I can find to comfort my mind.” Don’t leave—
I said. But a tent is small; you’re across the sea.

3
Remember that proverb about doors?
One closes and another opens. Remember,
sweetheart? Making love in my grandma’s bed, her
Hungarian linen soft from years of sweat, the sure-
ness of how I want you soft and rhym-
ing next to me when we are old, a couplet
cradled from the cold. There are ways to let
you know. I swear by memories every time
we talk: remember swimming under the northern lights
that night? Smearing raspberries on our white breasts
and licking crimson until morning, the crests
of our waves never crashing; remember not quite
ever sleeping? If I had a ship, I’d come to you
and wake you with a sailor’s kiss, and say I do.

 

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