|The Queen's Carpet
America, I will scream across your highway of thigh,
up the flesh that's moist like fogged glass,
and press my fingers in the crease
where the leg folds and meets trunk,
feeling for the cord of muscle that swells below the skin.
I could make this an America poem.
I could leave it like I said it in the first line,
but geography is unrealistic.
Perhaps I don't believe in America, but I believe in thighs
that stretch like currents of air,
the kind of air currents you can put both
your hands on and feel pass like a rippled snake,
the kind of air currents that weave
in and out of days appearing especially
when you know you may eat summer fruit for lunch.
I believe in thighs that stretch out like arms. You will take one
and I the other, and will we reach the lovely feet
with branching toes or orgiastic crisis?
Our thighs are so pale they recollect the sky.
I see pale expanses weaving braids
through all the mirrors I've looked into.
I will go slow.
It will take my whole life to tongue your thigh's length
from knee to trunk.
I love the goldness, how it feels and glows like mango meat.
Instead of a future, a golden thigh
on which I will walk with millions of steps.
“A vibrant, worthy, first book of poems.”—ForeWord
“Starke's voice is fresh and powerful, and it merits wide recognition.”—Echo
“This is exotic, electric poetry—the poems of a mature woman with the body and soul
of a young one, a beginner in years but not in ability or vision. The poems are
a blend of opposites turning and returning on themes of language, sexuality, and
love—poems of a gambler—shining with energy and wit. The stakes are high, and
Katherine Starke is a winner.”—Phyllis Janowitz
“Courageous, honest and bold, Katherine Starke's poems argue for the outlandish, the
spirited, the wise, and the heady. In a time of the small poem and the
bloodless poetaster, Starke's love for music, wonder, and the lust-ridden body
is cause enough for celebration. If there is diminution in others, it has not,
thank goodness, chastened Starke. And we are all the better for it. I can't
think of a more delightful book. If Tip to Rump does not return you to
joy, I can't imagine what will.” —Kenneth A. McClane
“Here are some bold, exuberant poems about the passions of the body and the heart, by
a gifted new writer with a vivid imagination and a fresh way with words.”—James