May Swenson
The Kiss

The thing itself is odd

this nibbled touching

 

Contiguous thresholds

for the souls to pass

from porch to porch 

 

Each a pod

snugly shut

wishes to open then divide

and so beget a sibling

 

To match as mittens do

identical and different

 

Master and mistress each

Then I will be you and bee you

 

In membranes locked

a peach and peach

would sip each other

 

Why this shock?

Ignition makes of parallels a peak

of straights a sphere

 

Heads together here

two rocks

the same space-pocket fills

 

Impossible such occupation

yet your face is mine

I stand behind your eyes

 

But then apart (a part) again

like boxers in ballet

The silken gloves

have barely grazed

 

The flick

of the immediate vanishes

Coincidence is quick

 

Before it tarnishes

O realize the truth of Two

the I the also You

 
Found In Volume , No. 05
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  • May Swenson
May Swenson
About the Author

May Swenson's first collection of poems, Another Animal, was published by Scribner in 1954.  Her other poetry collections include A Cage of Spines (1958), To Mix With Time: New and Selected Poems (1963), Half Sun Half Sleep (1967), Iconographs (1970), New & Selected Things Taking Place (1978), and In Other Words (1987). Posthumous collections of her work include The Love Poems (1991), Nature: Poems Old and New (1994), and May Out West (1996).

 

 

Swenson’s honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ford, Rockefeller, and MacArthur Foundations, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts grant. She received the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Bollingen Prize from Yale University, and an Award in Literature from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

 

In 1967, she received a Distinguished Service Gold Medal from Utah State University, and in 1987 an honorary doctor of letters. She served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1980 until her death. She died in Oceanview, Delaware, on December 4, 1989.