Didn’t Sappho Say Her Guts Clutched Up Like This?

By Marilyn Hacker

Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this?
Before a face suddenly numinous,
her eyes watered, knees melted. Did she lactate   
again, milk brought down by a girl’s kiss?   
It’s documented torrents are unloosed
by such events as recently produced
not the wish, but the need, to consume, in us,   
one pint of Maalox, one of Kaopectate.
My eyes and groin are permanently swollen,   
I’m alternatingly brilliant and witless
—and sleepless: bed is just a swamp to roll in.   
Although I’d cream my jeans touching your breast,   
sweetheart, it isn’t lust; it’s all the rest
of what I want with you that scares me shitless.

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