Neck Poem by John Grey

At the base of your neck, you will find
the poet’s lips that taste but do not swallow.
To me, necks are as perfectly
soft and nibble-worthy as red velvet cake.
From this position, one side of the neck
is perfectly lost to the other, but I can
move around, indulge myself in another perspective.

Sometimes, necks are bolstered by laughter.
And there’s garrulous necks, stiff necks,
necks that twist and turn, that attach themselves to other necks.
Some necks require the warmth only another’s mouth can provide.
That’s when the cervical spine really blooms.

Skeletons in a coffin give away their flesh
but retain their neck bones.
An entire body may be startled in the night
but it’s the neck that jerks up,
that directs the eyes where to look.
In a museum, I fondled a marble neck of a bust.
It was as smooth as something you could drink from.

For some, a neck is just something to keep the face from falling.
Or to nick with a shaving razor.
Or strangle with an ugly tie.
The very back of it is the last place
a wash cloth thinks of scouring.
When it comes to dirt, the neck
is in cahoots with the short collar.
But those arc other necks,
not the one I’m nuzzling.

Teeth are drawn to the neck.
Not just the usual run of vampires but lovers.
1 include myself in the latter.
My white teeth go with the neck’s pinkness,
the mahogany walls, pale yellow of your silks.
The neck stiffens when everything from indignation
to revulsion is required.
But it’s as easy as a whistled tune,
when I have business there.

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.


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