"Romancing the Numbers" by Barbra Nightingale

Barbra NightingaleBarbra Nightingale has had over 200 poems published in various national and online journals such as Tigertail, The Best of Tigertail, MiPo, Ocho, The Appalachee Review, Kansas Quarterly, Barrow Street, The Chatahoochee Review, Mississippi Review, MacGuffin, Many Mountains Moving, Kalliope, Calyx, and others. She has five published books, including the Prize-winning Singing in the Key of L.




Romancing the Numbers


Miranda, naked, sits cross-legged on the bed.

She is loving a man with her eyes only

because he does not exist. She has made him

up in her mind and he is the perfect lover.

His kisses cover her body, reach every crevice,

shed new light on darkness.


Miranda rocks back and forth and shakes her head,

counting beats of her heart. She is practicing Love

in the Perfumed Garden, the Arabic way.

She is on number fourteen and by the time

she reaches twenty-five, she will die of ecstasy.

She knows this and does not mind.


“Desire is the wish for heaven,” she says,

her hands fluttering like hummingbirds

around her body. She feels them peck and bite,

knows the power of suggestion.

What, after all, is reality, but a different spatial plane,

a riddle we move to, traveling in circles?


It is not the answer, she thinks, that binds us,

it is the question unasked—

the one where purpose is not a definition

but an adventure yet to be had.

Miranda sighs, lies down and closes her eyes.

Her lover sleeps, then brings her gently to fifteen.


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"Romancing the Numbers" by Barbra Nightingale first appeared in MiPoesias, and is part of a new collection, Geometry of Dreams, due out in 2009. Throughout the month of April, National Poetry Month, poets from the Caribbean and South Florida will be featured on this blog.

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