Starfish; Desert; The Fire; The Message; Cold Nights


with a shake
	with a finger		to my lips
		you wake me
wrap my bare shoulders
				in your blanket
	draw me out in moonlight
		past the courtyard
to the patch of dewy grass
	beside the reflecting pool
			& show me how
to draw circles & pentagrams
		with my hands with
				my body
	& gather starlight
which you weave		into my hair
	your fingers scaled over & glowing
			like fish skin
		blushing my cheeks opal
carving bright the ridges along
				my collarbones
staining your blanket
		as you find your way in

All afternoon creatures periphery
my vision, but I’m making them up,
I think, until at dusk
a small rust lizard shares
the rock I sit on. What
could I offer from my pockets
to fill her up—what can I give
but my own body now to this
landscape blank as the mind?
I hunger like a scream held
in the gut, one that needs to be
palm-cradled like a star,
a gift for the hearer. My tiger,
make room on the pillow you bury
your face in. Give me your roar.
The Fire

How could I allow this,
myself—& now what’s left
is brushstrokes of
punishment on bark,
the dark idea of
a house or courtyard.
I want these marks
on my body instead,
my unscathed skin—
I would become this
disfigured scene
but for you, my 
color-palette, begging
me cerulean, cool
as another chance,
though all I can do
now is paint over
what’s already there.
The Message

When your voice finds me taking
in the sun on top of the wall,
sitting with a glass of water
pressed to my forehead; when
your voice comes in the shape
of a small sandy owl, begging 
me home; when your voice arrives
like the recent past lassoing
the near future, eleven reaching
past noon to tug one just 
close enough to whisper I
need you; know, my eclipse,
that I’m coming soon, that
I’ll hold up your firmament
with you, for you, for
you, & I’m not afraid now
of my name becoming wind,
or earth, or yours. 
Cold Nights

Thin moon: I stir in a quilted twin bed
as my legs receive between them sudden cold feet
& the tip of my nose teases
into sweet hair. Bare arms ease
my back half-up, slip the rough
wool outer-shirt over my head;
then a warmer weight presses soft
cotton into cotton into sheet.
My wild hare, stealing my heat
in the blue, stealing into my loft
to burrow down where no one can hear
or see, not even us—we only know
each other by nuzzle, long touch, the slow
warm breath of noses & knees, the quick of heartbeat.

T. Dallas Saylor’s work often meditates on the body, especially gender and sexuality, against physical, spiritual, and digital landscapes. He is a PhD candidate in poetry at Florida State University, and he holds an MFA from the University of Houston. Saylor’s work has been featured in Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Colorado Review, Christianity & Literature, PRISM international, and elsewhere.