"A Quiet Poem About Marital Sex"

Oct 12, 2015

Put your fire to my forest
and pour on oil.

Your gasoline to the struck tip
of the waiting match

and I will stop whatever I'm doing
because in a minute you and I will burn down the world.

Set fire to the pipeline!
See the winter melt in less than sixty seconds,

all the wells of the glittering earth ignite
from underground at once in a thousand sites

and in a thousand cities the beacon fires on the fortified walls
say, We've won!

The gates won't wait for dawn!
They open now!

The tips of your fingers taste like oxygen
and when the torch of my tongue meets you

it's time to drop everything
sit down quietly

and call the handyman

we're not worried anymore
about the bills, the yard, the work, the mess—

we're facing what's more pressing...
blown the door off the house.

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Credit Christine Holbert / Lost Horse Press

Shann Ray's stories and poems have appeared in some of America’s top literary venues including Poetry, McSweeney’s, Narrative, Story Quarterly, Poetry International, Northwest Review, and William and Mary Review.  Ray is the winner of the subTerrain Poetry Prize, the Crab Creek Review Fiction Award, the Poetry Quarterly Poetry Prize, the Pacific Northwest Inlander Short Story Award, the Ruminate Short Story Prize, and the Creative Writing Distinguished Alumni Award from Eastern Washington University.  His work has been selected as notable in the Best American Nonrequired Reading and Best of the West anthologies, as a finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award in short fiction, and appeared in the Best New Poets and Best of McSweeney’s anthologies.

"A Quiet Poem About Marital Sex" was published in Ray's collection Balefire, winner of a High Plains Book Award in Poetry.