The Courtesan’s Reply – Tambulasena by Shazea Quraishi
The Courtesan’s Reply – Tambulasena
In the beginning
my whole body was covered with skin
hard as rock. Then he came
and his mouth was a river
running over me, cool and quick
with small, silver fish.
Night after night
he shaped me
and smoothed me
to my velvet
Now, I bathe while he watches,
feel his eyes,
fireflies on my skin.
I bend over,
my hair, a curtain of water
I let him towel me dry,
his strokes soft at first, then brisk,
like a cloth shining a lamp.
Water drips down
my back. He grasps the rope
of my hair and climbs.
What came before desire? I suppose all I had were my arms wrapped around myself. I suppose for a while I thought that was enough.
Sometimes I forget what life was like before you were in my life. Perhaps in anticipation of your arrival, I was trying to love myself as best I can. Even if my heart was rarely a heart for years and years.
What came before your skin on my skin. Does it matter. Given the chance I will drink from your lips again and again.
This little corner of the world is my passion project since 2005. My commitment is that it will always remain free to all. If this place holds meaning for you, would you consider supporting it? This can be in the form of a cup of coffee (+ other ways).
Note that Read A Little Poetry may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through any links on this site. It is at no additional cost to you and helps in the upkeep of this space.
Thank you for being here all these years—and into the future—as I hold poets to the light.