21 Days/ 21 Poems: A Recent Memorable Poem
If You are Lucky
If you are lucky
you will carry one night with you
for the rest of your life,
a night like no other.
You won’t see it coming.
Forget the day, the year.
It will arrive uninvoked,
an astrological anomaly.
You will remember
how every cell in your body
knew him, this stranger,
how you held your breath,
the way you searched his face.
This is how such evenings begin.
And you will be real in your skin,
bone and sinew; the way you always thought
you could be. Effortlessly
This is how you will fit together.
His parted lips between your thighs,
your half-lit nipples darkening,
the hot-breathed arrival of desire,
the frenzied coupling
as you opened soundlessly
and the world flooded into you.
In the morning, maybe,
soon after sunrise
you will walk barefoot above a waterfall in the forest,
light-headed with the smell of sex
laughing at your déshabillée.
You will carry
the music of this memory with you
and from time to time,
in the small, withered hours,
your body will sing its remembering.
“If you are Lucky” by Michelle McGrane. The Suitable Girl, Pindrop Press, 2010.
The poems in The Suitable Girl surprised me at every turn. From the harrowing lines of self-mutilation in “Skin Offerings” to the stoic “Madame Bovary’s Final Visit,” McGrane confronts gender issues with a stark resolve and subtle irony.
In “If You are Lucky,” McGrane celebrates the body and its memories of sensuality. And although the lines seem to have a casual abandon, there is a subtle intelligence in the association of “bone and sinew” with “frenzied coupling.” The poem may have a libertine tone, but this is a poet who is in control of her craft.
Michelle McGrane lives in Johannesburg and blogs at http://peonymoon.wordpress.com. Her collection, The Suitable Girl, is published by Pindrop Press.