#BlaPoWriMo: Love is Plucking Splinters

Love is plucking splinters
from underneath fingernails
after we carved our initials
into the bark of the old oak

tree, brown like our skin.
You suck the blood from my
finger—a form of foreplay,
your tongue dancing a pirouette

in your mouth. Prickling taste
buds crawl over the wound like
the feet of centipedes. Fall on
top of me into a pillow of white

cotton fields, where just last
June we snatched crop into
our sacks until our backs
cracked under the cowhide

lash. I trace the scars down
your spine, that extend out
across your shoulder blades
over your ribcage, curling

around your torso, and make
out a hand. And it’s as if the
hand of God pressed you down
into the ground. Into me.

© Nortina Simmons


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