“La Chatte,” by C. K. Williams

Colette’s heroine’s so sexually neglected she pushes her husband’s cat—
pussy, dear puss—off the balcony of his rich family apartment.
Pussy lands, saved, on an awning. Doorman brings her back up. Pity.

It’s some Tibetan who rhapsodized, “The body’s a shout,” not Collette,
but she could have. In Paris they say that when she made love
she’d sometimes cry out with so much abandon her neighbors applauded.

My body too all but shouted when Catherine came last night to bed—
she moved with a muscular, athletic sweep I hadn’t registered before,
that engendered a gust in me such that I felt I’d never made love,

with her or anyone else until now, and afterwards—afterwards, oh—
it was still there, the gust, I’d become merely it seemed its container,
and Catherine was still there, in the grace of her falling asleep,

and it came to me to take her body into my mouth, her whole body,
thighs, buttocks, slim waist, breasts, skull busily buzzing—
all of it, grace notes, arpeggios, trills, and yes, pussy, dear puss,

and roll it on my tongue, inside my cheeks to the roof of my mouth…
And if she could really be in there, I wonder what she would feel?
A sweet lollipop river, I’d like to think; no rapids, only the gentlest

rolling and pitching—lifted she’d be, and let fall and lifted again,
not fall and lifted like that cursed cat carried back purring
to the husband who deserved the celibacy he was surely condemned to,

but lifted as Colette was those mythical evenings in her opera of sex,
and as my gust, of desire, of longing, of love, was loosed and lifted in me,
wildly lashing the branches, joyously twirling the leaves.

From Little Star #2

Warm your February offer

C . K . Williams’s most recent book of poems, Wait, was published in May of 2010, as was a prose study, On Whitman. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.

Hear C. K. Williams read.